Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 445–456 | Cite as

PAHs in surface sediments from coastal and estuarine areas of the northern Bohai and Yellow Seas, China

  • Wentao Jiao
  • Tieyu Wang
  • Jong Seong Khim
  • Wei Luo
  • Wenyou Hu
  • Jonathan E. Naile
  • John P. Giesy
  • Yonglong Lu


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations and their risks in surface sediments (n = 35) collected from coastal and estuarine areas of the northern Bohai and Yellow Seas, China, were investigated in 2008. Total concentrations of PAHs ranged from 52.3 to 1,870.6 ng/g dry weight. The greatest concentrations were observed in the Dou River of Tangshan where waste water from small factories is discharged into the river without treatment. At other locations, municipal sewage was the primary contributor of PAHs. Regional differences in concentrations of PAHs in sediments are related to human activities. Concentrations of PAHs were significantly correlated with concentrations of organic carbon in sediments. The patterns of relative concentrations and types of PAHs observed and knowledge of the potential sources, as well as the results of a principal component analysis, are consistent with the primary sources of PAHs in sediments of the northern Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, being derived from the high-temperature pyrolytic processes such as combustion of fossil fuel. While concentrations of PAHs at most locations did not exceed the effects range median stated by the numerical effect-based sediment quality guidelines of the United States, concentrations of PAHs at some locations were similar to or greater than the effects range low.


PAHs Sediment contamination Ecological risk assessment Coastal areas 



This study was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (“973” Research Program) with Grant No.2007CB407307 and the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences with Grant No.KZCX2-YW-420-5. Prof. Giesy’s participation in the project was supported by the Einstein Professor Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wentao Jiao
    • 1
  • Tieyu Wang
    • 1
  • Jong Seong Khim
    • 2
  • Wei Luo
    • 1
  • Wenyou Hu
    • 1
  • Jonathan E. Naile
    • 3
  • John P. Giesy
    • 3
  • Yonglong Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Division of Environmental Science and Ecological EngineeringKorea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and Toxicology CentreUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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