Accumulation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Navigation Channels, Harbors and Industrial Areas of the Bahia Blanca Estuary, Argentina

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO), CCT-CONICET, Bahía Blanca. C.C.Nº 804, Bahía Blanca, Rep. Argentina

2 Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México D.F., México

3 Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México (UAM), México D.F., México


The usage and production of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was banned in Argentina in
2002, approximately twenty to thirty years later than in other countries. A total of 29 sediment samples (up
to 14 m deep) were analyzed for a mix of seven individual PCBs in a time series for over more than one year in twelve selected locations, including harbors, recreational docks and several industrialized coastal locations in Bahia Blanca Estuary, Argentina, South America. The GC/ECD results showed the dominance of three chlorinated compounds: CB180, CB52 and CB101, which showed a strong reduction with distance from the urban area. The principal components analysis differentiates light and heavy congeners variation, settling several hypotheses and the classification of sampling sites to determine the PCB burden. Considering literature reports, the present results were evaluated in the international PCB context, diminishing the scarcity of PCB data from the Southern Hemisphere and prompting the need of future monitoring approaches.