Polychlorinated biphenyls in water, sediment and selected organisms of Galveston Bay, Texas. Environmental levels and bioaccumulation




Stahl, R.G., Jr.

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Texas A&M University


A seasonal examination of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination in waters, sediments and selected organisms of Galveston Bay, Texas was conducted at 8 locations in the Bay during 1978-1979. PCB contamination was greater in water and sediment samples from sites proximal to petrochemical industry. These sites were associated with the Houston and the Texas City Ship Channels. Values in water were less than 1 ug/L while values in sediment were less than 100 ng/g. PCB contamination of Atlantic croaker, blue crab, and laughing gull was similar in magnitude to sediment contamination. Laughing gulls contained slightly higher contamination than either Atlantic croaker or blue crab. Over time, levels in sediment and organisms remained similar. Input sites of PCB to Galveston Bay appear to be related to industrial activities around the Houston and Texas City Ship Channels. Uptake experiments conducted on Galveston Bay sediment, grass shrimp, sheepshead minnows and blue crabs, demonstrated the ability of each to concentrate PCB from seawater. Grass shrimp accumulated more PCB than did sheepshead minnows, blue crabs or sediment. In feeding experiments sheepshead minnows accumulated more PCB than did blue crab. Comparitively, on a percentage basis the more significant pathway of PCB uptake appears to have been through the food. The magnitude and extent of PCB contamination in Galveston Bay was less than had been reported elsewhere from other industrialized coastal areas of the United States.


151 pgs.


polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)