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Distribution, speciation, and ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in surface sediments of Jiaozhou Bay, China

Lin, Yichen, Meng, Fanping, Du, Yongxiang, Tan, Yuhan
Human and ecological risk assessment 2016 v.22 no.5 pp. 1253-1267
United States Environmental Protection Agency, aquatic ecosystems, arsenic, bioactive properties, cadmium, chemical speciation, chromium, copper, environmental assessment, guidelines, heavy metals, lead, marine sediments, mercury, pollution, risk, risk assessment, zinc, China
This paper analyzed the distribution and speciation of seven heavy metals in sediments in Jiaozhou Bay. The ecological risk was assessed using three index approaches (i.e., risk assessment code (RAC), contamination factor (CF), and potential ecological risk index (PERI)) and by a comparison with sediment quality guidelines (Chinese Marine Sediment Quality Standards (CMSQS), and threshold effect level (TEL) and probable effect level (PEL) from the USEPA). Pb, Cr, As, Cu, Zn, and Hg contents at most sites were above the corresponding TEL and Class I criteria (CMSQS) value. Particularly, high contents of Cu, detected at sites S ₇ (124.5 mg kg ⁻¹) and S ₈ (118.3 mg kg ⁻¹), exceeded the respective PEL value, indicating that harmful biological effects might occur. Speciation analysis, individual CF , and RAC calculations suggested that Cd had the highest bioavailable fraction and thus posed a very high risk to aquatic ecosystem; Cu and Zn showed a medium–high risk. Both global CF and PERI analysis indicated a high pollution risk at sites S ₇, S ₁, S ₃, and S ₂, but the assessments of specific sites were different. The incomplete consistency suggested that it is necessary to consider both total contents and chemical speciation for providing a more realistic appraisal for the risk of heavy metals in sediments.