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Determination of PAHs in marine sediments: analytical methods and environmental concerns

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Pages :
391 - 405

Nikolaou A., Kostopoulou M., Lofrano G. and Meric S.
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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are one of the major categories of pollutants
entering the marine environment and finally accumulating in the sediments. Their occurrence
raises major concerns for human health, especially during coastal activities (bathing waters,
aquaculture, etc), having combined adverse effects still largely unknown when they are
present as mixtures. Moreover, during their remobilization (e.g. dredging activities), their
bioavailability can increase resulting in a risk for marine environment. Several of them are
known to be potential human carcinogens including benzo[a]anthracene, chrysene,
benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene and benzo[ghi]perylene. Therefore they have been
included in the priority list of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC and also sixteen of
them have been regulated by the US EPA as priority pollutants, and their distributions in the
environment and potential human health risks have become the focus of much attention.
The determination of PAHs in environmental matrices has been subject of great scientific
attention during the latest years, as the accuracy and sensitivity of analytical methods need to
be improved in order to be able to detect the compounds of interest in a complex matrix such
as sediments. Therefore, significant research is being devoted to the optimization of analytical
methodologies. A great number of studies have been performed on PAHs analysis in marine
sediments. Various analytical procedures based on gas chromatographic analyses are
reviewed and comparatively discussed in this paper.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, marine sediment pollution, environmental analysis