Organohalogenated contaminants in sediments and bivalves from the Northern Arabian Gulf.
Surficial sediment samples were obtained from 25 locations within Kuwait Bay and outside the Bay, in the Northwestern Arabian Gulf, to access recent pollution in Kuwait. The historical deposition of PBDEs to this portion of the Arabian Gulf was reconstructed by collecting a sediment core at the entrance of Kuwait Bay. The mean (and range) in concentrations of ∑11PBDEs in surficial sediments was 0.164±0.09 (0.06-0.44) pg/g dw. The concentrations measured in Kuwait Bay were generally higher than those measured in the open Gulf. When the concentrations were normalized to organic carbon, the average ∑11PBDEs concentrations measured in Kuwait Bay were seven times higher than average concentrations outside the Bay. The historical record, reconstructed from a sediment core collected at the entrance of Kuwait Bay, showed that Σ11PBDE concentrations were generally low in deeper sediment sections. The concentrations started to increase above background in the mid-1950s and increased sharply to a maximum Σ11PBDE concentration of ca 1,100 pg/g in the late 1980s. Concentrations decreased thereafter until another pulse in concentrations was observed around the early 2000 followed by a decrease in subsequent years. It is likely that the initial pulse in concentration recorded in sediments is related to inputs from the Gulf war of 1991. The penta congeners were observed throughout the length of the core although the concentrations were low. The congeners present in the Deca-PBDE technical mixture, particularly BDE 209 which is the main congener in the Deca-BDE mixture, occurred in sediment cores around the 1980s, and the concentrations increased rapidly thereafter being the most dominant congener since their first detection in sediments. The presence of nona-BDE congeners in proportions exceeding those in commercial mixtures may be suggestive of debromination of BDE 209 in sediments.