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Heavy Metals Concentration in Sediments of South Brittany Waters, France: An Ecological Risk Assessment Approach

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: Distribution patterns of selected heavy metals content in sediments from the Bay of Quiberon and Gulf of Morbihan were studied to understand the current heavy metals contamination due to urbanization and mariculture activities in the coastal area. Therefore, a survey was conducted and 196 sediments collected were characterized for heavy metals content using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) after mix acid digestion process. The distribution maps of the concentrations of the heavy metals studied were produced as an isopleth map based on data interpolation by the ArcGIS software application. The association with the adverse effects on aquatic organisms was determined by the classification of the sediment according to the sediment quality guidelines. Therefore, two approaches were employed namely: direct comparison with Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQGs) by USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and comparison with other numerical SQGs, threshold effect level probable effect level, and effect range low effect range medium. In order to estimate the effect of multiple contaminations of heavy metals, the mean-ERM-quotient was calculated at each sampling point.

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