J. Phys. IV France
Volume 139, December 2006
Page(s) 211 - 237
From Regional Climate Modelling to the Exploration of Venus
C. Boutron
J. Phys. IV France 139 (2006) 211-237

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2006139016

Occurrence and air/sea-exchange of novel organic pollutants in the marine environment

R. Ebinghaus1, 2 and Z. Xie1

1  Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
2  Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement, 54 rue Molière, BP. 96, 38402 Saint-Martin-d'Hères, France

(Published online: 9 January 2007)

A number of studies have demonstrated that several classes of chemicals act as biologically relevant signalling substances.

Among these chemicals, many, including PCBs, DDT and dioxins, are semi-volatile, persistent, and are capable of long-range atmospheric transport via atmospheric circulation. Some of these compounds, e.g. phthalates and alkylphenols (APs) are still manufactured and consumed worldwide even though there is clear evidence that they are toxic to aquatic organisms and can act as endocrine disruptors.

Concentrations of NP, t-OP and NP1EO, DMP, DEP, DBP, BBP, and DEHP have been simultaneously determined in the surface sea water and atmosphere of the North Sea. Atmospheric concentrations of NP and t-OP ranged from 7 to 110 pg m - 3, which were one to three orders of magnitude below coastal atmospheric concentrations already reported. NP1EO was detected in both vapor and particle phases, which ranged from 4 to 50 pg m - 3. The concentrations of the phthalates in the atmosphere ranged from below the method detection limit to 3.4 ng m - 3. The concentrations of t-OP, NP, and NP1EO in dissolved phase were 13-300, 90-1400, and 17-1660 pg L - 1. DBP, BBP, and DEHP were determined in the water phase with concentrations ranging from below the method detection limit to 6.6 ng L - 1.

This study indicates that atmospheric deposition of APs and phthalates into the North Sea is an important input pathway. The net fluxes indicate that the air-sea exchange is significant and, consequently the open ocean and polar areas will be an extensive sink for APs and phthalates.

© EDP Sciences 2006