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Spatial and temporary trends on contaminants in mussel sampled around the Icelandic coastline

Author(s): Sturludottir E, Gunnlaugsdottir H, Jorundsdottir HO, Magnusdottir EV, Olafsdottir K, et al.


Contaminants have been determined in blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) at 11 locations around the Icelandic coastline from 1990 to 2010. The aim of the present study was to investigate if there has been a change in concentration of contaminants around the Icelandic coastline for the last two decades and if the concentrations and changes, if present, were consistent between locations. Concentrations of the persistent organic pollutants, p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene (p,p′-DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), α-hexachlorocyclohexane (α-HCH), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB-153) and trans-nonachlor, have decreased at most of the sampling locations in Iceland in recent years. However, an increasing trend was found at a few locations that could be explained by anthropogenic activity. The concentration levels of the persistent organics were much lower than found at the Norwegian, USA and Chinese coasts, especially levels of p,p′-DDE. The concentration of copper and selenium had a consistent pattern of change and concentration between locations over the period which showed a decreasing trend in recent years. The trace elements arsenic, cadmium, mercury and zinc showed more variation in concentration between locations, the concentration of arsenic, mercury and zinc was fairly stable over the period, whereas there were fluctuations in cadmium concentrations. The concentrations of cadmium and zinc were observed to be somewhat higher than found in mussels from Norway, USA and China but values of mercury and lead were much lower in the mussel sampled in Iceland. The higher concentrations of cadmium and zinc can be explained by the volcanic activity in Iceland but no major anthropogenic sources of trace elements are known in Iceland.

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