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Sediment Quality Assessment and Management: Insight and Progress Edited by M. Munawar© 2003 Ecovision World Monograph Series Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management Society Assessment of chlorinated organic pollutants in the sediments of a coastal area of the Tyrrhenian sea (Ombrone River-Italy): a case-study of multivariate approach for marine sediment characterisation A.M. Cicero*, M.G. Finoia, M. Gabellini, E. Pietrantonio, G. Romanelli, E. Romano Istituto Centrale per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica Applicata al Mare (ICRAM), Via di Casalotti 300, Roma, 00166 Italy. *am.cicero@icram.org Keywords: PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, xenobiotics. Introduction The assessment and characterisation of pollutants load in the sediments represent a critical step for the evaluation of the environmental status of marine coastal areas. The principal organohalogen compounds present in the Mediterranean coastal waters and sediments are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (DDD); hexachlorocyclohexane (HCHs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB). The principal transport routes of these compounds into the marine and coastal environment include atmospheric deposition and surface run-off (UNEP, 1996). PCBs are mixtures of chlorinated hydrocarbons produced for industrial uses. DDT is a well-known insecticide previously used world-wide; it is now banned in Western Europe, but is still used in some countries of the Mediterranean Basin. HCHs is present as a mixture of isomers: the γ-isomer is well known as lindane. HCB is mainly used as a fumigant and fungicide compound for grain storage, but is also a by-product of industrial chemicals (UNEP, 1996). Human activities had led to the background concentration of these 126 anthropogenic compounds. Particularly, PCBs and organochlorine pesticides, belonging to the class of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), exert a severe impact on the marine environment because of their persistence, toxicity and bioaccumulation capacity (WHO, 1993). These organic contaminants adsorb onto sediment particles and become a source of toxicity to organisms and bioaccumulation to the food chain: adverse effects may be inducted by these compounds on aquatic life, human health and recreation if they enter the food chain (EPA, 1993). The adverse effects on marine organisms include impaired reproduction; endocrine dysfunction; immunosuppression and cancer. Finally, exposure to POPs was also correlated with population declines of some marine mammals (UNEP, 1996). In the last years, a number of national and regional initiatives was promoted and, as a result, “protection goals” were defined to reduce the impact of POPs on marine environment. In 1993 the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention recommended the reduction and phasing out, by the year 2005, of inputs to the marine environment of these organohalogen compounds listed in Land Based Sources Protocol (UNEP, 1996). Actually, measures to eliminate releases from intentional production, use, import and export of PCBs and HCB as well as to restrict production and use of DDT are defined by an international legal instrument (UNEP, 2001). Most POPs are monitored systematically in the Mediterranean region (UNEP, 1996). The Marine Environmental Risk Assessment is carried out on the basis of a three steps procedure: Local Assessment; Regional Assessment and Global Assessment (EU, 1998). As for the Local Assessment, it is essential to know the present levels and the background concentration of these pollutants, for which no “natural” sources are known (Laane, 1992). Such information is necessary to establish the correct measures to control POPs at their sources, as well as to study their distribution in the sediments by suitable methods. With this in mind, we investigated concentration and distribution of POPs in a pilot study of a coastal area along the Tuscany coast, near the mouth of the Ombrone River. The area is located between the Argentario Promontory and the Gulf of Follonica (Central Italy), (Figure 1), from the Ombrone River basin to the SouthernTuscany continental margin.The basin is characterised by natural processes of transport and the morphology of the coast is dominated by the Ombrone River delta. A dominant northward circulation and littoral southward drifts affect the sediment distribution pattern, together with the shelf morphology. These characteristics determine a terrigenous sedimentation with a silty clayey and clayey silty grain size (Chiocci et al., 1997). The same area is also investigated by a broader research project planned to “study the present day sedimentary processes on Central Tyrrhenian continental shelf as result of a 20 kyr environmental evolution”. Some preliminary results 127 obtained in such study showed an accumulation trend of fine-sized materials in the area (Chiocci et al., 1997). Because of the relationship between the finest fractions of sediments and the concentration of some POPs...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780993918452
Related ISBN
9788178982328
MARC Record
OCLC
933516293
Pages
378
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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