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Mar Pollut Bull. 2010 Jul;60(7):998-1004. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.02.002. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

A study of marine pollution caused by the release of metals into seawater following acid spills.

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Université Européenne de Bretagne, Université de Brest, UMR CNRS 6521 CEMCA, 6 av. Le Gorgeu, 29238 Brest Cedex 3, France.


This study examined the potential metal pollution induced by the accidental spill of different acids into seawater. The acids sink to the bottom according to their densities and subsequently react with marine sediments. The acids selected for this study were acetic, hydrochloric, nitric, sulfuric, and phosphoric acids; the metallic elements selected were Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb and Zn. The sediment was collected in Brest Harbour. The percentages of metals released from this sediment in the presence of various concentrations of acids in seawater were important; concentrations of approximately 7 mg L(-1) for Mn and 60 mg L(-1) for Zn were observed under our experimental conditions. We also examined the rate of release of these metals from the sediment into the seawater in the presence of the different acids and under different experimental conditions. We found that most of the metallic elements were released from the sediments into the seawater during the first fifteen minutes of exposure. After this time, a high degree of pollution was induced if acids leached into seawater were not rapidly diluted.

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