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Assessment of marine contamination by persistent organic pollutants (POPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals through plastic pellets found on the beaches of São Paulo State coast


The presence of plastic pellets in the oceans and beaches has become of particular concern because of the economic, esthetic, and ecological impacts. Before end up on the beach, the pellets float in the ocean and some pollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be sorbed with concentration factors of 106. This adsorption is known to be dependent on pellet cristallinity, weathering but also based on collection site environment. In this study, the occurrence of POPs, PAHs and metals will be evaluated in plastic pellets sampled on the sand surface of approximately 40 beaches in 13 localities of São Paulo state coast, southeastern Brazil. Among those sites, Baixada Santista will be evaluated in small scale through 30 samples of pellets collected on the beaches of Santos Bay. In that area, the most important industrial complex of the country and the biggest port of Latin America can be found. In addition an important contribution of domestic and industrial waste disposal is released into marine environment. The pellets will also be taken apart in discolored hues in order to evaluate pollutants adsorption in each group. The soxhlet extracted POPs and hydrocarbons will include organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) that will be analyzed by gas chromatograph with electron capture detector (GC-ECD), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) quantified by gas chromatograph with mass spectrometer (GC/MS). Metals will be analysed through acid digestion and ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Atomic Emission Spectrometry). The results of those analyses will show the contamination by POPs, PAHs and metals along São Paulo Coast but mainly show the variation in concentration in small and large scale based on International Pellet Watch criteria. (AU)

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