Principal component analysis (PCA), positive matrix factorization (PMF), and the mean effects range-median quotient (MERM-Q) models were employed to determine occurrence levels, sources, and potential toxicological significance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface sediments of the Yellow River Estuary, China. Due to the grain size of sediments, cumulative effects, and distribution of oil fields, the total concentration of the 16 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) priority PAHs (T-PAHs) measured in sediments along transects in the offshore area was 119.51 ± 39.58 ng g−1 dry weight (dw), which is notably higher than that measured in rivers (75.00 ± 12.56 ng g−1 dw) and estuaries (67.94 ± 10.20 ng g−1 dw). PAH levels decreased seaward along all the studied transects in coastal Bohai Bay. Multivariate statistical analyses supported that PAHs in sediments were principally derived from coal and biomass combustion, oil pollution, and vehicular emissions. Based on the MERM-Q (0.0050 ± 0.0017), PAHs were at low potential of ecotoxicological contamination level. These results provide helpful information for protecting water resources and serving sustainable development in Construction of Ecological Civilization in the Yellow River Delta.
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Wang, C., Zou, Y., Yu, L. et al. Potential source contributions and risk assessment of PAHs in sediments from the tail-reaches of the Yellow River Estuary, China: PCA model, PMF model, and mean ERM quotient analysis. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020) doi:10.1007/s11356-019-07530-8
- Source apportionment
- Risk assessment
- Spatial distribution
- Yellow River Estuary