Long-term trends of persistent toxic substances and potential toxicities in sediments along the west coast of South Korea.


Department of Ocean Environmental Sciences, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [Email]


For decades, in response to industrialization and urbanization, environmental qualities of estuarine and coastal areas of the west coast of Korea have been deteriorating. Long-term changes in concentrations of persistent toxic substances (PTSs) in sediments, including PAHs, styrene oligomers, nonylphenols, and metals and their potential toxicities via AhR- and ER-mediated potencies, and bioluminescent bacterial inhibition, were investigated. Long-term monitoring in five estuarine and coastal areas (2010-2018; 10 sites) showed that concentrations of PAHs and nonylphenols in sediments have declined while concentrations of some metals, Cd, Cr, and Hg have increased. Similarly, AhR-mediated potencies in sediments have declined, but inhibitions of bioluminescent bacteria have increased. Concentrations of sedimentary PAHs and AhR-mediated potencies were significantly (p < 0.01) and positively correlated. Sources of PAHs from combustion have been gradually declining while inputs from vehicle exhaust by-products have been increasing. Overall, this study brought our attention a balanced regulation in chemical-specific manner.


In vitro bioassay,Metals and metalloid,Nonylphenols,PAHs,Sediments,Styrene oligomers,

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