Project

Concentration, Accumulation and Potential Risks of Anthropogenic Contaminants in Coastal Environments in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea (CAREMED)

Goal: The Project CAREMED, funded by the French Water Agency (Agence de l'eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse), gathers a multidisciplinary team involving scientists from academic and private institutions. The overall objective of CAREMED is to provide insight on the environmental concentrations, main sources and fluxes of chemical contaminants of current and emerging concern, like plastic organic additives and related compounds, in different environmental compartments (water, sediments, and marine organisms) on the French Mediterranean coast. The investigation of their transfer in Mediterranean food webs as well as their potential risks to marine organisms and human health are key objectives of this project too. This study should contribute to define an ecological status of NW Mediterranean coastal ecosystems and to identify action objectives for its improvement.

Date: 1 October 2017

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Project log

Javier Castro-Jiménez
added a research item
Seven phthalate (PAEs) and nine organophosphate esters (OPEs) were measured in surface sediments across the Gulf of Lion (NW Mediterranean Sea) at twelve stations characterized by different anthropogenic signatures. ∑PAEs and ∑OPEs concentrations ranged from 2 to 766 ng/g DW (av. 196 ng/g DW) and from 4 to 227 ng/g DW (av. 54 ng/g DW), respectively. Our analysis of the potential sources of these organic plastic additives in sediments of the Gulf of Lion suggests that the dominant factors affecting their occurrence and environmental distribution are port-based industrial activities and urban pressures. Indeed, the highest ∑PAE and ∑OPE concentrations were found close to the ports of Toulon and Marseille (Estaque) and at the sites impacted by the Marseille metropolitan area (i.e. at the outlets of the waste water treatment plant at Cortiou and at the mouth of the Huveaune River). The lowest levels were generally found in protected areas (e.g. Port-Cros) and at sites relatively far from the coast. DEHP was seen to be the most abundant PAE while TDCP, TEHP and TiBP were the most abundant OPEs in the area. Our results also expose the contribution of additives entering the Gulf of Lion via sedimentary material from the Rhône River, with positive correlations between the total organic carbon (TOC) content in the sediment and the ∑PAEs and ∑OPEs concentrations. However, additive concentrations decreased from shore to offshore in the Rhône River discharge area, indicating an efficient dilution of the contaminants accumulated at the river mouth area.
Geneviève Deviller
added a research item
The specific objectives of this work are: (a) to estimate safe concentrations for pelagic and benthic species, top predators and humans consuming fishery products, or quality standards in marine water sediment and biota of 3 widely used alkyl OPEs: Tri-n-buthyl phosphate (TnBP); 2-Ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP) and Tri-iso-buthyl phosphate (TiBP) according to the last version of the EC Technical Guidance to derive Environmental Quality Standards using up to date regulatory and research data (b) to assess their level of uncertainties in order to facilitate their use by risk managers and to highlight data gaps for consideration by policy makers and researchers.
Javier Castro-Jiménez
added a project goal
The Project CAREMED, funded by the French Water Agency (Agence de l'eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse), gathers a multidisciplinary team involving scientists from academic and private institutions. The overall objective of CAREMED is to provide insight on the environmental concentrations, main sources and fluxes of chemical contaminants of current and emerging concern, like plastic organic additives and related compounds, in different environmental compartments (water, sediments, and marine organisms) on the French Mediterranean coast. The investigation of their transfer in Mediterranean food webs as well as their potential risks to marine organisms and human health are key objectives of this project too. This study should contribute to define an ecological status of NW Mediterranean coastal ecosystems and to identify action objectives for its improvement.