National Status & Trends Program

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Since 1984, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s (NOAA) National Status and Trends (NS&T) Program has analyzed samples of surface sediment collected at about 200 coastal and estuarine sites throughout the United States. The chemical contaminants measured are chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and 12 trace elements. Sediment characteristics such as grain size, which affect contaminant concentrations, have also been quantified. With few exceptions, the higher levels of contamination have been found among the 175 sites where the sediment is muddy rather than sandy. Most of the highest concentrations for any particular contaminant have been at the 20 sites near Boston, New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, or Seattle. Despite being sandy, sediments at two Long Island Sound sites showed high levels of PAHs. Except for some sites near the Florida cities of Jacksonville, Tampa, Panama City, and Ft. Walton Beach, levels of contamination at sites in the Gulf of Mexico and in the southeastern United States were relatively low.
Chemical Contaminants, Sediments, PCBS, PAHS, Data