Aquatic environment

Potential toxic risk of heavy metals from sediment of the Pearl Riverin South China

NIU Hongyi , DENG Wenjing , WU Qunhe , CHEN Xingeng


Received September 30, 2008,Revised February 17, 2009, Accepted , Available online

Volume 21,2009,Pages 1053-1058

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Based on the monitoring of five heavy metal elements in the surface sediments of the Pearl River in South China, potential toxicity of the heavy metals was assessed using consensus-based sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) method and geo-accumulation (Igeo) index method. The monitoring results showed the heavy metal concentrations were significantly and positively correlated with each other, demonstrating a common trend in variation of concentration in the surface sediments. The assessment using the consensus-based SQGs method showed the potential toxicity of Cu was the highest, and Cd was the lowest. The evaluation based on mean probable e ect concentration (PEC) quotient showed the region was seriously polluted with high toxicity heavy metals. Correlation analysis revealed a significant and positive correlation between the mean PEC quotient and the average of Igeo with a correlation coe cient of 0.926 (n = 23, P < 0.01). In conclusion, the consensus-based SQGs and mean PEC quotient are applicable to assess potential toxicity risks of heavy metals in freshwater sediments in the Pearl River.

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