Recent survey results for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs, dioxins) in Baltic Sea sediments from Finland, Sweden and Denmark were merged with previously published Baltic Sea data. Regional distribution of concentration levels, differences in congener patterns, and temporal changes in sediment profiles were examined. One of the main objectives was to study if any major point sources for different PCDD/F congeners could be identified on a regional scale, based on sediment records. The survey confirmed the impact of chlorophenol production derived highly chlorinated PCDF-congeners on the total toxicity in sediments in the Gulf of Finland near the Kymijoki river estuary. Signatures of other point sources or combined point sources pertinent to specific industry branches or particular production processes (such as pulp bleaching, vinyl chloride production, thermal processes) may be discerned. However, the findings did not support any of the known point sources significantly influencing those congeners that are most abundant in Baltic herring and salmon. Instead, regional distributions in the Baltic Sea indicate that atmospheric deposition may act as a major source for those congeners and especially for 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF. There were clear indications of declines in levels in sediment in some areas, but generally the levels of highly chlorinated PCDD/Fs on the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland were still high when compared with other areas of the Baltic Sea. Major areas with data gaps cover the south-eastern and eastern coastal regions of the Baltic Proper and the southern Gulf of Finland.
2007. Vol. 67, no 9, 1762-75 p.