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Keywords:

  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins;
  • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans;
  • Black carbon;
  • Sediment;
  • Bioavailability

Abstract

Freely dissolved and gas phase polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were measured in the water column and atmosphere at five locations within Newark Bay (New Jersey, USA) from May 2008 to August 2009 with polyethylene (PE) passive samplers. Mono- to octa-CDDs and mono- to hepta-CDFs were detected in bottom and surface waters at ≤20 pg/L with no clear gradient between sampling locations, suggesting freely dissolved PCDD/Fs are well mixed in Newark Bay. The most concentrated, freely dissolved gas phase congener was 2,7/2,8-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,7/2,8-DiCDD), likely originating from photochemical conversion of triclosan in Newark Bay. Air–surface water gradients strongly favored net volatilization of PCDD/PCDFs from Newark Bay. Water-to-air fluxes of 2,7/2,8-DiCDD and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD), the most concentrated and the most toxic PCDD/PCDFs, respectively, were approximately 60 ng/m2 per month and 14 to 51 pg/m2 per month. Significant decreases in freely dissolved 2,3,7,8-TCDD concentrations with increasing freshwater near the Passaic River and conservative behavior during the summer of 2009 suggested Passaic sediments as a likely source of 2,3,7,8-TCDD to Newark Bay. Mass balance calculations implied that almost 50% of freely dissolved 2,3,7,8-TCDD delivered to Newark Bay from the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers was lost to volatilization in the summer of 2009. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:253–261. © 2011 SETAC