NOAA Gulf of Mexico status and trends program: trace organic contaminant distribution in sediments and oysters




Wade, T.L.
Atlas, E.L.
Brooks, J.M.
Kennicutt, M.C., II.
Fox, R.G.
Sericano, J.L.
Garcia-Romero, B.
DeFreitas, D.

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Estuarine Research Federation


Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), chlorinated pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) concentrations were determined in sediment and oysters to provide information on the current status of the concentrations of these contaminants in Gulf of Mexico coastal areas removed from point sources of input. Coprostanol analyses of sediments showed that anthropogenic materials are associated with the sediments at all 153 stations sampled. The levels of contaminants encountered are low compared with areas of known contamination. Average PAH concentrations are nearly the same in oysters and sediments, although the molecular weight distribution is different. Average DDT and PCB concentrations are higher by a factor of 10 to 130 in oysters as compared to sediments. Continued sampling and analyses will allow for long-term trends in the concentrations of these contaminants to be determined.


pgs. 171-179


polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)