Skip to main content

Characterization and Distribution of Heavy Metals, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers and Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Surface Sediment from the Dayan River, South China


In this study, surface sediment samples were collected from 11 sites in the Dayan River near an electronic waste site in Qingyuan. Heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PBDEs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) were detected. The concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd ranged from 12.1 to 641, 47.1 to 891, 39.2 to 641, 0.12 to 2.07 mg/kg dw, respectively. Total PBDEs ranged between 0.052 and 126.64 ng/g dw. BDE-47 and BDE-99 were the predominant PBDEs. The concentrations of PFASs in sediments ranged between 0.01 and 3.72 ng/g dw. The perfluorooctane sulfonate was predominantly PFASs. The strong positive correlations among Cu, Zn, perfluorooctanoic acid and PBDEs indicate that these contaminants were associated with each other and may share a common anthropogenic source in the sediments of the Dayan River.

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

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Bao J, Jin YH, Liu W, Ran XR, Zhang ZX (2009) Perfluorinated compounds in sediments from the Daliao River system of northeast China. Chemosphere 77:652–657

  2. Bao J, Liu W, Liu L, Jin Y, Ran X, Zhang Z (2010) Perfluorinated compounds in urban river sediments from Guangzhou and Shanghai of China. Chemosphere 80:123–130

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. BSEF.2000. An introduction to Brominated Flame Retardants Bromine Science and Environment Form, 28

  4. Busch J, Ahrensa L, Sturma R, Ebinghausa R (2010) Polyfluoroalkyl compounds in landfill leachates. Environ Pollut 158:1467–1471

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chen SJ, Gao XJ, Mai BX, Chen ZM, Luo XJ, Sheng GY, Fu JM, Zeng EY (2006) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in surface sediments of the Yangtze River Delta: levels, distribution and potential hydrodynamic influence. Environ Pollut 144:951–957

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chen L, Huang Y, Peng X, Xu Z, Zhang S, Ren M, Ye Z, Wang X (2009) PBDEs in sediments of the Beijiang River, China: levels, distribution, and influence of total organic carbon. Chemosphere 76:226–231

  7. Chen CL, Wang TY, Lu YL, Luo W, Geng J (2010) Estimation of perfluorinated compounds emissions from major rivers and wastewater treatment plants in China (in Chinese). Environ Sci 32:1073–1080

    Google Scholar 

  8. China Environmental Monitoring Station (1990) Natural background values of soil elements in China. China Environmental Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Fang WF, Huang WB (2006) Recycling economy in Qiangyuan. Available at

  10. Fu JM, Mai B, Sheng G (2003) Persistent organic pollutants in environment of the Pearl River Delta, China: an overview. Chemosphere 52:1411–1422

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Greenpeace International (2007) Electronic waste in Guangdong. Available at

  12. Key BD, Howell RD, Criddle CS (1997) Fluorinated organics in the biosphere. Environ Sci Technol 31:2445–2454

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Li H, Bai J, Li Y, Cheng H, Zeng EY, You J (2011) Short-range transport of contaminants released from e-waste recycling site in South China. J Environ Monit 13:836–843

  14. Li Q, Yang C, Luo Z, Zhang X (2010) Occurrence and levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in recent sediments and marine organisms from Xiamen offshore areas, China. Mar Pollut Bull 60:464–469

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Li Y, Lin T, Chen Y, Hue LM, Guo ZG, Zhang G (2012) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in sediments of the coastal East China Sea: occurrence, distribution and mass inventory. Environ Pollut 171:155–161

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Luo Q, Cai ZW, Wong MH (2007) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in fish and sediment from river polluted by electronic waste. Sci Total Environ 383:115–127

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Luo Y, Luo XJ, Lin Z, Chen SJ, Liu J, Mai BX, Yang ZY (2009) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in road and farmland soils from an e-waste recycling region in Southern China: concentrations, source profiles, and potential dispersion and deposition. Sci Total Environ 407:1105–1113

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Luo CI, Liu CP, Wang Y, Liu X, Li FB, Zhang G, Li XD (2011) Heavy metal contamination in soils and vegetables near an e-waste processing site, south China. J Hazard Mater 186:481–490

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Ma J, Qiu X, Zhang J, Duan XL, Zhu T (2012) State of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in China: an overview. Chemosphere 88:769–778

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Mai B, Chen S, Luo X (2005) Distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in sediments of the Pearl River Delta and adjacent South China Sea. Environ Sci Technol 39:3521–3527

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Martin M, Lam PK, Richardson BJ (2004) An Asian quandary: where have all of the PBDEs gone? Mar Pollut Bull 49:375–382

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. National Standard of PR China (2002) Marine sediment quality (GB 18668-2002). Standards Press of China, Beijing (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  23. Ni HG, Zeng H, Tao S, Zeng EY (2010) Environmental and human exposure to persistent halogenated compounds derived from e-waste in China. Environ Toxicol Chem 29:1237–1247

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Pang JX, Sun BQ, Li HZ, Mehlera WT, You J (2012) Influence of bioturbation on bioavailability and toxicity of PAHs in sedimen from an electronic waste recycling site in South China. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 84:227–233

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Paul AG, Jones KC, Sweetman AJ (2009) A first global production, emission, and environmental inventory for perfluorooctane sulfonate. Environ Sci Technol 43:386–392

  26. Prevedouros K, Cousins I, Buck R, Korzeniowski S (2006) Sources, fate and transport of perfluorocarboxylates. Environ Sci Technol 40:32–44

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Puckett J, Byster L, Westervelt S, Gutierrez R, Davis S, Hussain A (2002) Exporting harm: the high-tech trashing of Asia. Basel action network, Silicon valley toxics coalition. Available at

  28. Sjödin A, Jakobsson E, Kierkegaardb A, Marsha G, Sellströmb U (1998) Gas chromatographic identification and quantification of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in a commercial product, Bromkal 70-5DE. J Chromatogr A 822:83–89

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. State Environmental Protection Administration of Chin (SEPAC) (2004) The technical specification for soil environmental monitoring. HJ/T 166-2004. Environmental Press of China, Beijing (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  30. Taniyasu S, Kannan K, So MK, Gulkowskad A, Sinclairb E, Okazawaa T, Yamashitaa N (2005) Analysis of fluorotelomer alcohols, fluorotelomer acids, and short-and long-chain perfluorinated acids in water and biota. J Chromatogr A 1093:89–97

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Wang Y, Luo CL, Li J, Yin H, Li XD, Zhang G (2011) Characterization of PBDEs in soils and vegetations near an e-waste recycling site in South China. Environ Pollut 159:2443–2448

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Wu JP, Luo XJ, Zhan Y, Luo Y, Chen SJ, Mai BX, Yang ZY (2008) Bioaccumulation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in wild aquatic species from an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling site in South China. Environ Int 34:1109–1113

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Yang L, Zhu LY, Liu ZT (2011) Occurrence and partition of perfluorinated compounds in water and sediment from Liao River and Taihu Lake, China. Chemosphere 83:806–814

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Zheng J, Luo XJ, Yuan JG, He LY, Zhou YH, Luo Y, Chen SJ, Mai BX, Yang ZY (2011) Heavy metals in hair of residents in an e-waste recycling area, south china: contents and assessment of bodily state. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 61:696–703

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (No. 201009026), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21107028, 30200030), and the Natural Science Foundation of Educational Department of Guangdong government (No. 20070506), and National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program, No. 2013AA102402).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Guocheng Hu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zheng, H., Hu, G., Xu, Z. et al. Characterization and Distribution of Heavy Metals, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers and Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Surface Sediment from the Dayan River, South China. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 94, 503–510 (2015).

Download citation


  • Heavy metals
  • PBDEs
  • PFASs
  • Electronic waste
  • Sediments
  • South China