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Chemosphere. 2009 Oct;77(6):854-62. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.07.063. Epub 2009 Sep 3.

PCDD/F, PBDE, and nonylphenol contamination in a semi-enclosed bay (Masan Bay, South Korea) and a Mediterranean lagoon (Thau, France).

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  • 1Oil and POPs Research Group, Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, 391 Jangmok-ri, Jangmok-myon, Geoje-shi 656-834, Republic of Korea.


Chemical contamination of the coastal marine environment by polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) was assessed along with emerging contaminants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in an industrially well-developed country (France) and a fast-developing country (Korea). Other chemicals, i.e. nonylphenol (NP) and 5 beta(H)-cholestan-3beta-ol (coprostanol) were determined to trace industrial waste and/or domestic inputs. These compounds were analyzed in coastal sediments and mussels in two enclosed coastal water bodies: Masan Bay (South Korea) and Thau lagoon (France). The overall levels of target organic contaminants were higher in Masan Bay than in Thau lagoon. The mean concentrations of 17 PCDD/Fs, 13 PBDEs, NP and coprostanol in Masan Bay sediments were, respectively, 1.3, 11, 248 and 291 ng g(-1) dry weight (d.w.); in Thau lagoon sediments they were, respectively, 0.39, not detectable (nd), 23 and 395 ng g(-1)d.w. Mean concentrations in mussels (coprostanol and cholestanol were not measured) were 0.0093, 13, 140 ng g(-1)d.w. in Masan Bay and 0.016, 0.94, 38 ng g(-1)d.w. in Thau lagoon. Principal component analysis of the contaminants and chemical tracers indicates possible point sources of pollution for Masan Bay and Thau lagoon. This study highlights a growing pollution problem in Asia and in particular a tremendous uptrend in Korea, in comparison to more controlled discharges and releases in Western Europe.

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