Chemical Contaminants and their Effects in Fish and Wildlife from the Industrial Zone of Sumgayit, Republic of Azerbaijan


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Abstract

Sediment from a wetland adjacent to an industrial wastewater treatment plant in Sumgayit contained concentrations of total PAHs, total PCBs, aldrin, biphenyl, chlordane, DDT, mercury, β-endosulfan, heptachlor, α-hexacyclohexane (α-HCH), γ-HCH, and several individual PAH congeners that were elevated relative to published sediment quality guidelines. Chemical analyses of tissues from European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) had increased levels of many of the same chemicals including aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, α-HCH, total PCBs, total PAHs, and mercury, compared to reference turtles. In addition, turtle tissues contained elevated levels of DDD, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and pentachlorobenzene that were not elevated in the sediment sample. Some differences were observed in contaminant levels between European pond turtles and Caspian turtles (Mauremys caspica) taken from the ponds in Sumgayit. Salmonella/microsome mutagenicity assays on pond sediments were negative or weakly positive. Micronuclei in European pond turtles were statistically correlated with tissue levels of mercury, heptachlor, DDD, HCB, and trans-nonachlor. Microcosm experiments using Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) showed a positive dose–response relationship between exposure to suspended contaminated pond sediment and acute toxicity. Chemical and biological assays used in this study show the industrial area of Sumgayit is heavily contaminated with a complex mixture of toxic pollutants. Exposure to contaminated sediments produced acute effects in Russian sturgeon, but genotoxic effects appear to be slight.

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