Heavy metals in seawater, sediments, and biota from the coastal area of Yancheng City, China



A systematic investigation was carried out to analyze the concentration levels of heavy metals in sample seawater, sediments, and biota collected from the coastal area of Yancheng City in Jiangsu Province, China. The authors assessed the impact of these heavy metals in different environmental samples in terms of potential risks to ecology and also to the human population exposed to this area. In addition, a further investigation was carried out to test the toxicity to early-life-stage zebrafish (Danio rerio) of selected samples that were considered to pose higher levels of potential risks to ecology or human health. Chemical analysis showed relatively higher concentrations of heavy metals in the seawater and biota samples collected from Xiangshui County and Binhai County, China. The heavy metal concentrations in different samples collected from the close vicinity of Dafeng Port, China, were also considerable. In all seawater and sediment samples, heavy metals showed a relatively moderate level of risk to ecological species; for consumption of marine organisms, heavy metals had adverse impacts on human health. Toxicity assessment indicated that the selected environmental samples or their extracts had significant toxicity to zebrafish early-life stages, including lethality, teratogenicity, and hatching delay (or advance). Thus the present study provides highly useful and important information on heavy metal pollution in Jiangsu Province. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:1697–1704. © 2014 SETAC