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Mussel Mania: longterm contaminant trends in the Southern California Bight. (Abstracts).

Twenty one of the over 260 inter-tidal NOAA National Mussel Watch stations are located in the Southern California Bight and most are located adjacent to regional monitoring grids. Mussels have been collected and analyzed annually or biennially since 1986. Concentrations of DDT, other organochlorine pesticides, tributyl tin, and PCB's continued to decline throughout the Bight during the 1990's, following major rapid decreases that occurred between 1965 and 1985. Palos Verdes is no longer "the" hot spot with respect to DDT or PCB's; mussels near marinas and harbors are the most contaminated with PCB's and chlordane. Levels of organochlorines at distant urban stations, such as Point Dume, are now nearly equivalent to those at remote sites. Organochlorines in mussels are 100-times less contaminated than they were in the early 1970's, and ten times cleaner than in the early 1980's. They also may be cleaner than at any time since World War II. Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) remain one or more orders of magnitude higher in bays and harbors than along the coast. Fingerprinting suggests the dominant source is combustion, not oil spills. Contaminant concentration trends in mussels no longer are related to trends in wastewater emissions. Other factors controlling contaminant variability include year-to-year variations in storm-water runoff, marina flushing and episodic oceanic events. Further treatment and industrial source control of wastewater effluents will provide no further benefit in reducing coastal contamination whereas control of surface water runoff, atmospheric inputs and marina/vessel-related sources may.
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Author:Mearns, A.J.; O'Connor, T.P.; Springs, Silver
Publication:Bulletin (Southern California Academy of Sciences)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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