Levels of PAHs in soil and vegetation samples from Tarragona County, Spain.

Research paper by M M Nadal, M M Schuhmacher, J L JL Domingo

Indexed on: 28 Jul '04Published on: 28 Jul '04Published in: Environmental Pollution


The levels of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in 24 soil and 12 wild chard samples collected in Tarragona County (Catalonia, Spain), an area with an important number of chemical and petrochemical industries. Samples were also collected in urban/residential zones and in presumably unpolluted sites (control samples). In soils, the sum of the 16 PAHs ranged between 1002 and 112 ng/g (dry weight) for samples collected near chemical industries and unpolluted sites, respectively. With the exception of acenaphthylene, acenaphthene, anthracene and benzo[k]fluoranthene, no significant differences in the levels of the remaining PAHs were found among the different zones of sample collection. In chard samples, the highest value (sum of 16 PAHs) was observed in the residential area, followed by the industrial and the unpolluted zones, with concentrations of 179, 58 and 28 ng/g (dry weight), respectively. In general terms, the current PAH concentrations in soil and vegetation are lower than the levels reported in a number of investigations from different regions and countries. They are also below the maximum PAH concentrations allowed by the Catalan legislation for different uses of soil.