Ecological risk assessment of arsenic and metals in sediments of coastal areas of northern Bohai and Yellow Seas, China
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Distributions of arsenic and metals in surface sediments collected from the coastal and estuarine areas of the northern Bohai and Yellow Seas, China, were investigated. An ecological risk assessment of arsenic and metals in the sediments was evaluated by three approaches: the Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQGs) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the degree of contamination, and two sets of SQGs indices. Sediments from the estuaries of the Wuli and Yalu Rivers contained some of the greatest concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury, lead, and zinc. Median concentrations of cadmium and mean concentrations of lead and zinc were greater than background concentrations determined for the areas. All sediments were considered to be heavily polluted by arsenic, but moderately polluted by chromium, lead, and cadmium. Current concentrations of arsenic and metals are unlikely to be acutely toxic, but chronic exposures would be expected to cause adverse effects on benthic invertebrates at 31.4% of the sites.
KeywordsArsenic and metals Sediments Contamination Ecological risk assessment
This research was supported by the National Basic Research Programs with grant Nos. 2008CB418104 and 2007CB407307, National Natural Science Foundation of China with grant No. 30840026, the Knowledge Innovation Programs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) with Grant Nos. KZCX2-YW-420-5 and KZCX1-YW-06-05-02, Einstein Professorship Program, CAS, and the Project of State Key Lab of Urban and Regional Ecology with Grant No. SKLURE2008-1-04. Portions of the research were supported by a Discovery Grant from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Project # 6807) and a grant from the Western Economic Diversification Canada (Project # 6971 and 6807). Prof. Giesy’s participation in the project was supported as an at large Chair Professorship from City University of Hong Kong and by an “Area of Excellence” Grant (AoE P-04/04).
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