Heliyon. 2022 Oct 4;8(10):e10953. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e10953. eCollection 2022 Oct.
In this study, the environmental fate of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in tropical lake sediments and their potential sources have been discussed. 15 PAHs (i.e. ΣPAH) have been investigated in two lakes, namely Songkhla Lake (SKL) and Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake (NHL), which are located at the southern and north-eastern parts of Thailand, respectively. Since these two lakes are registered as important wetlands under the Ramsar convention (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: UNESCO), the quantitative identification of potential contributors of PAHs is an inevitable analytical tool for launching an evidence-based policy. The ΣPAH concentrations observed in SKL and NHL sediments (n = 135) were in the range of 19.4-1,218 ng g-1 and 94.5-1,112 ng g-1, respectively. While the exponential decline of ΣPAH contents were detected in SKL sediments, NHL showed a trend of enhancing PAH contents with depth. The averaged benzo [a]pyrene (B [a]P) contents of surface sediments in both lakes were much below the value stipulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) guidelines for carcinogen risk assessment. Based on numerous multivariate statistical techniques coupled with source apportionment analysis, “biomass burning” and “anthropogenic activities” are two potential contributors of the PAHs detected in the study areas. To achieve the long-term conservation of nature with related ecosystem services and cultural values, it is therefore important to promote decision-making based on ecotoxicological studies of carcinogenic substances.