Occurrence, distribution and possible sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the surface water from the Bay of Bengal coast of Bangladesh.


Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, 79-9 Tokiwadai Hodogaya, Yokohama, Kanagawa 240-8501, Japan; Department of Fisheries, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh. Electronic address: [Email]


Full profile of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the coastal surface water from Bangladesh were analyzed by GC-MS/MS to explore the status of contamination, spatiotemporal distribution and to trace their potential sources. The total concentrations of dissolved PCBs (∑PCBs, sum of all congeners) varied from 32.17 to 160.7 ng/L and 46.45-199.4 ng/L in winter and summer, respectively, and the ranges were comparable to or higher than those recorded in the surface water from the coastal areas of India, China, Japan, Italy, Belgium and USA. The difference in the levels of PCBs between the two seasons was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). However, spatial distribution revealed that the areas with recent urbanization and industrialization (Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Sundarbans) were more contaminated with PCBs than the unindustrialized area (Meghna Estuary). Lightly to moderately chlorinated (2-6 Cl) homologs dominated the PCB profiles. Our analyses (congener profile and homolog composition) elucidated that the past and on-going use of PCB-containing equipment (e.g. capacitors and transformers) as well as the anthropogenic activities such as urban developments, commercial and industrial establishments (e.g. ship breaking and port activities) might be the potential sources of PCB emission in Bangladesh. A set of congeners based on their detection frequencies and abundance were identified and categorized as potential environmental marker PCBs, which can be used for the future selective monitoring studies regarding reasonable limitations on full congener assessment. According to the existing national and international water quality guidelines/standards, PCB concentrations recorded in this study could potentially cause biological damage. Essentially, the findings of this first comprehensive report on the PCB contamination in the surface water in Bangladesh may provide a reference to future studies of these compounds in the Bay of Bengal.


Bangladesh,Coastal area,Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),Risk assessment,Surface water,