Investigation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soils around Elbasan industrial area, in Albania
Jonida Tahiraj, Elda Marku, Georg Raber
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been recognized to cause serious health and environmental problems due to their carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic properties. For the first time, a comprehensive study was conducted in Elbasan district in order to know the current situation concerning PAH levels in this area which is under the influence of the metallurgical activity since 1976, currently operated by a Turkish company. 36 surface soil samples were collected in total in urban, agricultural and industrial areas, in March 2017. The samples were ultra-sonicated with dichloromethane, and the extracts were analyzed using an Agilent 7890A gas chromatograph equipped with a quadrupole Mass Spectrometer 5975C. High levels of contamination were observed at station 7 (Coke Plant) and station 10 (Refractory Brick and Carbon Mass Plant), where the mean concentration of 14 PAHs was in range 17235 µg/kg and 1635 µg/kg (dry weight), respectively. PAH pattern was dominated by four- and five- ring PAHs, contributing to 37%, 41 % and 42% of the total PAHs content at the industrial, urban and agricultural areas respectively. The sum of the 14 PAHs in the industrial area were considerably higher than those in urban and agricultural areas. The diagnostic molecular ratios revealed that the sources of PAHs were of mixed origin. The highest sum of the 7 carcinogenic PAHs was found in the industrial area. In general, the PAH concentrations in this study were below the maximum PAH concentrations allowed by the Canadian legislation for soils.
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