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J Hazard Mater. 2011 Aug 30;192(2):634-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.05.065. Epub 2011 May 27.

Three decades of TBT contamination in sediments around a large scale shipyard.

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


Tributyltin (TBT) contamination in sediments was investigated in the vicinity of a large-scale shipyard in the years after the implementation of a total ban on the use of TBT based antifouling paints in Korea. Extremely high level of TBT (36,292ng Sn/g) in surface sediment was found at a station in front of a drydock and near surface runoff outfall of the shipyard. TBT concentration in surface sediments of Gohyeon Bay, where the shipyard is located, showed an apparent decreased TBT concentration gradient from the shipyard towards the outer bay. The vertical distribution of TBT contamination derived from a sediment core analysis demonstrated a significant positive correlation (r(2)=0.88; p<0.001) with the annual tonnage of ship-construction in the shipyard within the past three decades. TBT concentrations at six stations surveyed before (2003) and seven years after (2010) the total ban showed no significant differences (p>0.05). Despite the ban on the use of TBT, including ocean going vessels, surface sediments are still being heavily contaminated with TBT, and its levels well exceeded the sediment quality guideline or screening values.

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