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Arsenic enrichment in sediments and beaches of Brazilian coastal waters: a review

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

High concentrations of total arsenic (As), even above the Brazilian legislative threshold for marine sediments of
70 mg kg−1, were found in beach sands and near-shore surface sediments. Twomechanisms (anthropogenic activities
and sedimentary processes in the coastal waters) are responsible for this contamination. The anthropogenic
impact includes releases from metallurgical plants, phosphate fertilizer plants and gold and iron mining.
In the coastal area sedimentary processes redistributed the As fromthe sediment into the porous structure of calcareousmarine
algae. These enriched calcareous algae are transported over time to the beach bywave action. As
in the Brazilian coastal environment, increased As levels were also observed in other coastal environments of
South America such as Rio Loa (Chile), Barbacoas Bay (Colombia) and the Southern Pampa region (Argentina).
Finally, arsenic levels in fish from Brazilian coastal waters and North Sea, which is also an As-contaminated
area, were compared. In both areas, short term health effects from fish consumption are not expected, but a lifetime
cancer risk cannot be excluded.
Journal: Science of the Total Environment
ISSN: 0048-9697
Volume: 681
Pages: 143-154
Number of pages: 12
Publication year:2019
Keywords:Arsenic, Coastal environment, Enrichment mechanism, Latin America, Sources