The Llobregat pp 117-133 | Cite as

Occurrence of Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Llobregat River Basin: An Overview

  • Daniel GuillénEmail author
  • Antoni Ginebreda
  • Ethel Eljarrat
  • Mira Petrovic
  • Damià Barceló
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 21)


This chapter provides an overview about the occurrence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the Llobregat River basin (NE Spain). This basin historically has received considerable amounts of contaminants from both urban and industrial origin as well as from agricultural holdings. Among these contaminants, POPs are ubiquitous compounds of great concern due to their high persistence in the environment, high bioaccumulative nature and adverse effects (toxicity, carcinogenic and mutagenic effects, etc.) on wildlife and humans. These persistent contaminants include compounds such as chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This overview has been complemented with a recent monitoring study carried out in the framework of the SCARCE project in which the occurrence of 52 POPs in sediment samples from Llobregat River basin has been evaluated. Concentrations were compared with two approaches derived from a consensus sediment quality guideline (SQG) in order to assess the chemical quality of the sediments along the basin. Finally, the toxic potency associated with PAHs exposure is also evaluated.


Llobregat Organochlorinated pesticides Persistent organic pollutants Polyaromatic hydrocarbons Polychlorinated byphenyls Sediment quality 

Abbreviations and Symbols


Catalan Water Agency (Agència Catalana de l'Aigua)


Brominated flame retardants








Dioxin-like compounds


Dry weight


Environmental Protection Agency


Equilibrium criterion




European Uniform System for the Evaluation of Substances






International Agency for Research on Cancer


Organochlorinated pesticides


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Polychlorinated biphenyls


Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins


Polychlorinated dibenzofurans


Polychlorinated naphthalenes


Probable effect concentration


Persistent organic pollutants


Sediment quality guidelines




Threshold effect concentration


Toxicity equivalent factors


Toxicity equivalent quantity


Total organic carbon


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Wastewater treatment plants


Sum of total PAHs


Sum of total PCBs


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Guillén
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antoni Ginebreda
    • 1
  • Ethel Eljarrat
    • 1
  • Mira Petrovic
    • 2
    • 3
  • Damià Barceló
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)GironaSpain
  3. 3.Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.King Saud University (KSU)RiyadhSaudi Arabia

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