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Environ Pollut. 2007 Sep;149(1):104-13. Epub 2007 Jul 5.

Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and tributyltin (TBT) in Barcelona harbour sediments and their impact on benthic communities.

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Environmental Technology Area, CTM-UPC, Avda. Bases de Manresa 1, 08240 Manresa, Spain.


Sediments have long been recognised as a sink for many contaminants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and tributyltin (TBT), which by virtue of their nature can strongly adsorb onto sediments affecting the benthic community inhabiting them. Using geographical information systems, this study reports and combines the results of several already existing studies along Barcelona harbour in order to assess the potential ecological impacts of these contaminants on the benthos of the harbour ecosystem. Chemical analysis indicated low to moderate contents of PAHs and high contents of TBT in sediments in Barcelona harbour. Comparison against existing sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) indicated that acutely toxic effects would not be expected for PAHs but for TBT, which represents a serious environmental threat for the benthic community. Benthos surveys revealed a deterioration of the benthic community throughout the harbour, especially in the inner port.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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