Sources of dioxins and other POPs to the marine environment : Identification and apportionment using pattern analysis and receptor modeling

Abstract: In the studies underlying this thesis, various source tracing techniques were applied to environmental samples from the Baltic region. Comprehensive sampling and analysis of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) in surface sediments in Swedish coastal and offshore areas resulted in a unique data set for this region. Nearly 150 samples of surface sediments were analyzed for all tetra- to octa-chlorinated PCDD/Fs. The levels showed large spatial variability with hotspots in several coastal regions. Neither Sweden nor the EU has introduced guideline values for PCDD/Fs in sediment, but comparisons to available guidelines and quality standards from other countries indicate that large areas of primarily coastal sediments may constitute a risk to marine organisms. Multivariate pattern analysis techniques and receptor models, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF), were used to trace sources. These analyses suggested that three to six source types can explain most of the observed pattern variations found in the sediment samples. Atmospheric deposition was suggested as the most important source to offshore areas, thus confirming earlier estimates. However, spatial differences indicated a larger fraction of local/regional atmospheric sources, characterized by PCDFs, in the south. This was indicated by the identification of several patterns of atmospheric origin. In coastal areas, the influence of direct emission sources was larger, and among these, chlorophenol used for wood preservation and emissions from pulp/paper production and other wood related industry appeared to be most important. The historic emissions connected to processes involving chemical reactions with chlorine (e.g. pulp bleaching) were found to be of less importance except at some coastal sites. The analysis of PCDD/Fs in Baltic herring also revealed spatial variations in the levels and pollution patterns along the coast. The geographical match against areas with elevated sediment levels indicated that transfer from sediments via water to organisms was one possible explanation. Fugacity, a concept used to predict the net transport direction between environmental matrices, was used to explore the gas exchange of hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between air and water. These estimates suggested that, in the Kattegat Sea, the gaseous exchange of HCHs primarily resulted in net deposition while PCBs were net volatilized under certain environmental conditions. The study also indicated that, while the air concentrations of both PCBs and γ-HCH are mostly dependent upon the origin of the air mass, the fluctuations in α-HCH were primarily influenced by seasonal changes.