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Measurement of freely dissolved PAH concentrations in sediment beds using passive sampling with low-density polyethylene strips
Fernandez, L.A.; MacFarlane, J.K.; Tcaciuc, A.P.; Gschwend, P.M. (2009). Measurement of freely dissolved PAH concentrations in sediment beds using passive sampling with low-density polyethylene strips. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43(5): 1430-1436. dx.doi.org/10.1021/es802288w
In: Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society: Easton. ISSN 0013-936X; e-ISSN 1520-5851, meer
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  • Fernandez, L.A.
  • MacFarlane, J.K.
  • Tcaciuc, A.P.
  • Gschwend, P.M.

Abstract
    To assess hydrophobic organic chemical (HOC) contamination in sediments, a method was developed using polyethylene (PE) passive samplers inserted directly in the intact sediment beds to measure freely dissolved HOC concentrations. Performance reference compounds (PRCs: d10-phenanthrene, d10-pyrene, and d12-chrysene), impregnated into the PE before use, allowed porewater concentrations to be deduced after exposure times much shorter than would be required for sampler equilibration (days instead of months). Three diverse sediments were used in the laboratory, and PE-deduced porewater concentrations of six native PAHs (phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benz(a)anthracene, and chrysene) matched results from air-bridge testing and from direct porewater extractions after correcting for colloid effects. PE strips, deployed from a boat in Boston Harbor, yielded concentrations that were like those measured in porewaters from a sediment core collected nearby. Notably, equilibrium partitioning (EqP) estimates were always much higher (up to 100×) than those measured using the other methods, suggesting the large inaccuracy of that approach. Hence, PE passive sampling appears to greatly improve the accuracy of assessing the hazards posed by compounds like PAHs in sediment beds.

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