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Anthropogenic platinum and palladium in the sediments of Boston Harbor

January 1, 2000

Anthropogenic activity has increased recent sediment concentrations of Pt and Pd in Boston Harbor by approximately 5 times background concentrations. Surface sediments and downcore profiles were investigated to evaluate Pt and Pd accumulation and behavior in urban coastal sediments. There is no clear correlation between temporal changes in Pt and Pd consumption and sediment concentration. However, Pt/Pb and Pd/Pb ratios suggest that Pt and Pd flux into the Harbor may not be decreasing with cessation of sludge input as rapidly as other metals. This is supported by the large discrepancy between fluxes associated with sludge and effluent release and those calculated from surface sediment concentrations. This evidence supports catalytic converters as a major source of Pd and Pt to Boston Harbor but cannot preclude other sources. Pd does not exhibit signs of post-burial remobilization below the mixed layer in the sediment cores, although near-surface variability in Pd concentrations may indicate a labile Pd component. Pt displays an inverse correlation with Mn above the oxic/suboxic transition, similar to behavior seen in pristine sediments where Pt is thought to be chemically mobile. This study does not support the use of Pd and Pt as tracers of recent contaminated sedimentation. However, the possibility of a labile Pt and Pd in these sediments highlights the need for further study of the biological uptake of these metals.

Publication Year 2000
Title Anthropogenic platinum and palladium in the sediments of Boston Harbor
DOI 10.1021/es990666x
Authors C.B. Tuit, G.E. Ravizza, Michael H. Bothner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Index ID 70022843
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center