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Spatial distribution and enrichment assessment of heavy metals in surface sediments from Baixada Santista, Southeastern Brazil

Kim, Bianca Sung Mi, Salaroli, Alexandre Barbosa, Ferreira, Paulo Alves de Lima, Sartoretto, Juliê Rosemberg, Mahiques, Michel Michaelovich de, Figueira, Rubens Cesar Lopes
Marine pollution bulletin 2016 v.103 no.1-2 pp. 333-338
aluminum, arsenic, atomic absorption spectrometry, cadmium, chromium, copper, estuaries, guidelines, heavy metals, humans, international trade, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, sediments, urbanization, vanadium, water pollution, weathering, wet digestion method, zinc, Brazil
The Baixada Santista, besides being an important estuarine system, is responsible for most of the international trade and economic development in the region because of the Santos Port and the Cubatão Industrial Complex. The aim of this study is to assess heavy metal contamination of the Santos São Vicente Estuary using enrichment factors (EFs) and sediment quality guidelines (SQGs). Thus, superficial sediment samples were subjected to acid digestion and analyzed (Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sc, V, and Zn) by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The results indicated an absence of contamination, with the EFs indicating moderate enrichment. As and Pb presented higher enrichment probably due to the natural processes of weathering and sedimentation, and the influence of human activity. This conjoint analysis showed that potentially polluting activities are of concern as the highest values converge near the Cubatão Industrial Complex, which correspond to intense urbanization and industrial activity.