Concentrations of chlordane, a banned termiticide and pesticide, were examined in recently collected surficial sediment (10 sites) and sediment cores (4 sites) in Long Island Sound (LIS).The highest chlordane concentrations were observed in western LIS, near highly urbanized areas. Chlordane concentrations did not decrease significantly in the past decade when compared to the data collected in 1996, consistent with the observation of near-constant chlordane levels in blue mussel tissues collected during the same time period. Chlordane concentrations in many of the sites exceeded levels above which harmful effects on sediment-dwelling organisms are expected to frequently occur. Chlordane concentrations in two of the four sediment cores showed a peak below the sediment surface, suggesting reduced chlordane inputs in recent years. The lack of a chlordane concentration maximum below the sediment surface in the other two cores, coupled with the lack of a well-defined 137Cs peak, indicated significant sediment mixing. Simulations of 137Cs and 210Pb profiles in sediment cores with a simple sediment-mixing model were used to constrain both the deposition rate and the bioturbation rate of the sediment. Simulations of the chlordane profiles indicated continued chlordane input to LIS long after chlordane was phased out in the U.S. Continued chlordane input and significant sediment mixing may have contributed to the persistent chlordane concentrations in surficial sediment, which poses long-term threats to benthic organisms in LIS.
Additional publication details
Persistent chlordane concentrations in long island sound sediment: Implications from chlordane, 210Pb, and 137Cs profiles