Low-density polyethylene (PE) passive samplers containing performance reference compounds (PRCs) were deployed at multiple depths in two urban coastal marine locations to estimate dissolved concentrations of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs), including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners, and polybrominated flame retardants. PE samplers pre-loaded with PRCs were deployed at the surface, mid-column, and near bottom at sites representing the nearshore continental shelf off southern California (Santa Monica Bay, USA) and a mega commercial port (Los Angeles Harbor). After correcting for fractional equilibration using PRCs, concentrations ranged up to 100pgL −1 for PCBs and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 500pgL −1 for DDMU and 300pgL −1 for DDNU, and to 1000pgL −1 for p,p′-DDE. Seawater concentrations of DDTs and PCBs increased with depth, suggesting that bed sediments serve as the source of water column HOCs in Santa Monica Bay. In contrast, no discernable pattern between surface and near-bottom concentrations in Los Angeles Harbor was observed, which were also several-fold lower (DDTs: 45–300pgL −1 , PCBs: 5–50pgL −1 ) than those in Santa Monica Bay (DDTs: 2–1100pgL −1 , PCBs: 2–250pgL −1 ). Accumulation by mussels co-deployed with the PE samplers at select sites was strongly correlated with PE-estimated seawater concentrations, providing further evidence that these samplers are a viable alternative for monitoring of HOC exposure. Fractional equilibration observed with the PRCs increased with decreasing PRC molar volume indicating the importance of target compound physicochemical properties when estimating water column concentrations using passive samplers in situ.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.