Abstract:Recent studies have shown that many persistent organic pollutants (POPs, e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and various pesticides), are strongly associated with carbonaceous materials (including organic carbon (OC) and black carbon (BC)). We hypothesize that carbonaceous materials can be used as a first-order pollution index, to indicate areas where POP pollution may require further investigation. We tested our hypothesis and found that strong, positive correlations between BC and OC contents versus the concentrations of PCBs (and PAHs) existed in estuarine sediments of the Danshui River in 2005 and 2008. Thus, our preliminary results demonstrate that POC and BC are potential indicators of the POP pollution potential in fluvial sediments of the Danshui River in Taiwan. This innovative approach can provide a simple, relatively inexpensive and expedient means to monitor concentrations of POPs in polluted aquatic sediments of Taiwan, and/or those having a legacy of POP inputs.