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Environ Int. 2001 Apr;26(4):275-86.

Heavy metal contamination of brown seaweed and sediments from the UK coastline between the Wear river and the Tees river.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol.


The concentration of Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cd, and Ag were determined in the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus and intertidal surface sediments from coastal locations of northeast England. Levels of heavy metals similar to those of polluted areas of the British coastline were detected. There is evidence of contamination (especially with Zn and Pb) in sediments from sites affected by colliery spoil and from the Wear estuary. The pelitic fraction ( < 63 microm) is usually more enriched in heavy metals, but it represents a very small percentage of the bulk samples. The fine-grained sand is a very important repository of contaminants especially where particles of colliery spoil, secondary mineral, and amorphous phases are present. Aqua regia-extracted Zn, Cu, and Pb in sediments are significantly correlated with those in seaweed. Despite the closure of all base metal and coal mines, and the cessation of many industrial activities in the region, sediments and brown algae are contaminated with heavy metals. The control site (Holy Island) and the Tees estuary appear to be the least affected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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