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Mussel watch program for organic contaminants along the Korean coast, 2001-2007

Author(s): Choi HG, Moon HB, Choi M, Yu J, Kim SS

Abstract

The level and extent of organic contaminants along the Korean coast were estimated through the mussel watch program, established in 2001. Mussels and oysters were collected at 20 sites along the Korean coast in 2001 and at 25 sites from 2002 to 2007. The mussel tissues were analyzed for PCBs, organochlorine presticides, PAHs, BTs, and PCDD/Fs. PCBs, PAHs, BTs, and PCDD/Fs were ubiquitous contaminants along the Korean coast, showing mean detection frequencies of more than 95% over 7 years. The concentrations of organic contaminants in mussels along the Korean coast were relatively low or moderate compared with foreign studies. Concentrations of DDTs, PCBs, and PCDD/Fs were below the action or maximum levels for humans established by USFDA and EU. Elevated concentrations above the 85th percentile were found for PCBs, PAHs, BTs, and PCDD/Fs at sites near industrial complexes or big harbors, for HCHs at sites near non-industrial complexes, and for DDTs at sites near both non-industrial and industrial complexes. Using two nonparametric tests to assess temporal trends, the Spearman test revealed that BTs and PCDD/Fs had significant decreasing trends at four sites (Gwangyang Bay, Cheonsu Bay, Garorym Bay, and the Incheon coast) and at six sites (Hupo coast, Guryongpo coast, eastern part of Geojedo, Gunsan coast, Garorym Bay, and Asan Bay), respectively.

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