Marine pollution: Let us not forget beach sand

Type Article
Date 2011
Language English
Author(s) Galgani FrancoisORCID1, Ellerbrake Katrin2, Fries Elke2, Goreux Chantal3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (Ifremer), Laboratoire Environnement Ressources (LER)/Provence Azur Corse (PAC)BastiaFrance
2 : Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of OsnabrueckOsnabrueckGermany
3 : Total Petrochemicals Research FeluyFeluyBelgium
Source Environmental Sciences Europe (2190-4715) (Springer Nature), 2011 , Vol. 23 , N. 40 , P. 1-7
DOI 10.1186/2190-4715-23-40
Note Part of the following topical collections: Communications from the Division Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology of the German Chemical Society (GDCh)
Keyword(s) oyster larvae biotests, sediments, infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, microplastics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Mediterranean Sea, bioavailability, organic contaminants
Abstract Background: Assessing the chemical or bacterial contamination in marine waters and sediments is a very common approach to evaluate marine pollution and associated risks. However, toxicity and organic pollution of beach sands have not yet been considered, except in adjacent waters. In the present study, the toxicity and the chemical contamination of natural beach sands collected 20 m from the shoreline at two sites located on the Mediterranean Sea (Marseille and La Marana, Corsica) were studied.
Results: Up to 16.93% (net percentage) abnormal or dead larvae was observed in elutriates prepared from the urban beach sand sample (Marseille); no significant toxicity was observed in the sample collected from the reference beach in La Marana. Results of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analyses revealed that no microplastics were present in either of the samples. Several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs] in both samples and a larger number of individual PAHs in the urban sample than in the sample collected from the reference beach were detected. In addition, the antioxidant dioctyldiphenylamine was detected in both beach sand samples, whereby a higher concentration was found in La Marana than in Marseille. Calculated PAH concentrations in elutriates were generally higher than measured ones.
Conclusions: The results of this preliminary study provide evidence of toxicity and the presence of organic trace contaminants in beach sands from France. According to our results, monitoring using a combination of biotests and chemical analyses is recommended, especially of sediments from beaches abandoned to urban and industrial areas.
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