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Dissolved and particulate metals in water from Sonora Coast: a pristine zone of Gulf of California Metals in water from Sonora Coast

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the distribution of metals (Cd, Pb, Hg, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn) in dissolved and particulate fractions in seawater from Bacochibampo Bay, Northern part of Mexico. Water samples were collected from November 2004 to October 2005. Metal analysis was done by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy. Results indicated highest concentrations of dissolved Cd and Zn in the sites localized at the mouth and center of the bay. During summer and spring, the highest levels of Cd, Mn, and Fe were detected, Zn in fall, and Pb and Cu in winter and spring. Mercury was the only metal that was not found in this fraction. In particulate fraction, Fe, Hg, and Mn were the most abundant elements in all the sampling sites, followed by Zn, Cu, Pb, and Cd. The highest levels of the majority of the metals were observed in the coastline, suggesting a continental and/or urban source for these chemicals. The highest level of Cd was detected during the summer and the rest of the metals in the fall. Statistically significant correlations were observed between dissolved and particulate forms of Pb:Mn, Cu:Fe, and Cu:Mn. The mean partition coefficient values were as follows: Fe>Mn>Cu>Pb>Cd>Zn. All dissolved metal concentrations found, except Pb, were lower than EPA-recommended water quality values. The levels of dissolved metals in this study reveal low bioavailability and toxic potential. However, further toxicological and sediment chemistry studies in this area are needed for a full risk assessment.

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