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Assessment of heavy metal contamination in sediments along the coast of South Korea using Cs-normalized background concentrations

Song, Yunho, Choi, Man Sik
Marine pollution bulletin 2017 v.117 no.1-2 pp. 532-537
chromium, coasts, cobalt, copper, guidelines, heavy metals, lead, nickel, regression analysis, sediments, zinc, South Korea
To assess metal contamination in sediments along the entire coastline of South Korea, we estimated the regional background concentrations of metals and assessed the degree of contamination. Major and heavy metal concentrations, grain sizes, and sedimentation rates were analyzed. Regional background concentrations were established by identifying uncontaminated sediments in the cores, using first-order linear regression of background concentration against Cs concentration. The metal contamination of surface sediments was assessed using Korean sediment quality guidelines and a modified geo-accumulation index (Igeo⁎). In total, 14 sediments exceeded the threshold and probable effects level for Cu, 39 for Zn, and 19 for Pb. Based on Igeo⁎, most sediments were not contaminated with Cr, Co, or Ni, whereas 31% (Zn), 34% (Cu), and 43% (Pb) in total surface sediments were contaminated with other metals; 14% of total sediments were contaminated with Cu, and those above class 2 were concentrated near industrial and shipyard facilities.