Skip to main content

Concentrations, Sources and Risk Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Soils of Liaohe Estuarine Wetland


Concentration, source, and risk of PAHs were investigated in 31 sites from surface soils of Liaohe estuarine wetland. Total PAHs concentrations ranged from 293.4 to 1735.9 ng/g with a mean of 675.4 ng/g. The 3- and 4-ring PAHs were the dominant species. The ratios of high-molecular weight PAHs to low-molecular weight PAHs and anthracene/(anthracene+phenanthrene) were calculated to apportion sources of PAHs. It was found that both pyrogenic and petrogenic PAHs sources were important. Effect range low and effect range median showed that the PAHs would occasionally cause adverse effects. The nemerow composite index revealed that about 41.9% soil sampling sites were safety; about 58.1% sites had different grades of PAHs pollution.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Aannokkee GJ (1990) MT-TNO research into the biodegradation of soils and sediments contaminated with oils and PAHs. In: Wolf K et al (eds) Contaminated soil. Kluwer Academic Publisher, New York

    Google Scholar 

  2. Budzinski H, Jones I, Bellocq J, Pierard C, Garrigues P (1997) Evaluation of sediment contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Gironde estuary. Mar Chem 58:85–97

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Cai QY, Mo CH, Li YH, Zeng QY, Katsoyiannis A, Wu QT, Férard JF (2007) Occurrence and assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soils from vegetable fields of the Pearl River Delta, South China. Chemosphere 68:159–168

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Edwards NT (1983) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAH’s) in the terrestrial environment. J Environ Qual 12:427–441

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Ge CJ, An Q, Dong YH (2005) Residue and risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils around a steel mill. Rual Eco Environ 21: 66–69, 73

    Google Scholar 

  6. Long ER, MacDonald DD, Smith SL, Calder FD (1995) Incidence of adverse biological effects within ranges of chemical concentrations in marine and estuary sediments. Environ Manag 19:81–97

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ping LF, Luo YM, Zhang HB, Li QB, Wu LH (2007) Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in thirty typical soil profiles in the Yangtze River Delta region, east China. Environ Pollut 147:358–365

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Ruiz Y, Suarez P, Alonso A, Longo E, Villaverde A, San JF (2011) Environmental quality of mussel farms in the Vigo estuary: Pollution by PAHs, origin and effects on reproduction. Environ Pollut 159:250–265

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Santodonato J (1997) Review of the estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: relationship to carcinogenicity. Chemosphere 34:835–848

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Soclo HH, Garrigues P, Ewald M (2000) Origin of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in coastal marine sediments: case studies in Cotonou (Benin) and Aquitaine (France) areas. Mar Pollut Bull 40:387–396

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Tang L, Tang XY, Zhu YG, Zheng MH, Miao QL (2005) Contamination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban soils in Beijing, China. Environ Int 31:822–828

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Trapido M (1999) PAHs in estonian soil: contamination and profiles. Environ Pollut 105:67–74

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Yuan HM, Zhao GM, Pang SJ, Gao JY, Ye SY (2008) Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons(PAHS) exposure and their source analysis in the northern Wetland of the yellow river delta. Mar Geol Quat Geol 28:57–62

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Yunker MB, Macdonald RW, Vingarzan R, Mitchell RH, Goyette D, Sylvestre S (2002) PAHs in the Fraser River basin: a critical appraisal of PAH ratios as indicators of PAH source and composition. Org Geochem 33:489–515

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Zedeck MS (1980) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: review. J Environ Pathol Toxicol 3:537–567

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Zhao J, Zhou HD, Lu J et al (2009) Distribution and source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils of Baiyangdian area. Chin J Ecol 28:901–906

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the foundation of water pollution control and management of major special science and technology (2008ZX07208-009).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yinhai Lang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wang, N., Lang, Y., Cheng, F. et al. Concentrations, Sources and Risk Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Soils of Liaohe Estuarine Wetland. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 87, 463–468 (2011).

Download citation


  • PAHs
  • Isomer ratio
  • Effect range low and effect range median
  • The nemerow composite index