Organic and organometallic compounds in estuarine sediments from the Gulf of Mexico (1993-1994)




Maruya KA; Loganathan BG; Kannan K; McCumber-Kahn S; Lee RF

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Sediment samples from 281 estuarine sites in the Gulf of Mexico were collected in 1993-1994 and analyzed for several classes of organic and organometallic compounds as part of the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were the contaminant class found most frequently and in the highest concentrations; the sum of 24 congeners (SIGMAPAHs) ranged from < 5 ng g-1 to 15,500 ng g-1 (dry wt basis). A low percentage of samples (3.9%) exceeded 2000 ng g-1 SIGMAPAHs, and only six samples (2.1%) exceeded 4000 ng g-1, a level above which adverse biological effects may be expected to occur. Less than 4% of sediments exceeded 20 ng g-1 for the sum of 20 polychlorinated biphenyls (SIGMAPCBs) and only four samples (1.4%) exceeded 20 ng g-1 for the sum of several organochlorine pesticides (SIGMAOCPs). A sample from Freeport Harbor, Texas, contained 4230 ng g-1 SIGMAPAHs 322 ng g-1 SIGMAPCBs, and 49.6 ng g-1 SIGMAOCPs. Tributyltin exceeded 100 ng g-1 in only four samples, all of which were from stations in Corpus Christi Bay or Galveston Bay in Texas. The detection of a suite of organophosphate pesticides was very rare and did not exceed 15 ng g-1. Sediments from the tidally influenced section of the Mississippi River in Louisiana contained low to moderate levels of all classes of organic compounds. The most contaminated sites were in urban estuaries (e.g., Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Pensacola (Florida bays), underscoring the need to concentrate future monitoring and assessment efforts at the regional and local level




contaminated sediments;organochlorine pesticides: pollutant; organophosphate pesticides: pollutant; polychlorinated biphenyls: pollutant; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: pollutant; tributyltin: pollutant;Pollution Assessment Control and Management;tributyltin;[07502] Ecology: environmental biology - General and methods;[37015] Public health - Air,water and soil pollution;