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Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society

Print version ISSN 0103-5053

Abstract

HORTELLANI, Marcos Antonio; SARKIS, Jorge Eduardo Souza; BONETTI, Jarbas  and  BONETTI, Carla. Evaluation of mercury contamination in sediments from Santos - São Vicente Estuarine System, São Paulo State, Brazil. J. Braz. Chem. Soc. [online]. 2005, vol.16, n.6a, pp. 1140-1149. ISSN 0103-5053.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-50532005000700009.

The distribution of mercury contamination in the Santos - São Vicente Estuarine System was observed through the analysis of 31 sediments samples collected from that system, including mangrove areas under urban, industrial and harbor influence zones. The range of values obtained was between 0.04 and 1.19 µg g -1. About 90% of samples presented Hg > 0.13 µg g-1 levels, which is the limit established by Canadian legislation and adopted by the environmental control agency of São Paulo State - Brazil (CETESB), below which no adverse effect on the biological community has been observed. About 35% of these samples presented concentrations of Hg > 0.70 µg g-1, the probable level of occurrence of adverse effect on the biological community. These results indicate an increase in the mercury levels caused by industrial, port and urban activities. A statistical study was carried out, using the SPSS-10.0 software, to verify relationships among all the investigated parameters. Normalization of mercury with mud content was used to detect the degree of mercury contamination in this area.

Keywords : mercury contamination; estuarine sediments; mangrove sediments; principal component analysis; normalization; Santos.

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