Malaysia is a developing country in Southeast Asia, with rapid industrial and economic growth. Speedy population growth and aggressive consumerism in the past five decades have resulted in environmental pollution issues, including products containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PCBs and PBDEs are classified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by the Stockholm Convention due to their persistence, bioaccumulation in the environment and toxicity to humans and wildlife. These compounds are known to cause liver dysfunction, thyroid toxicity, developmental neuro-toxicity and possibly cancer. PCBs in air, mussels, pellets, seawater, fresh water, and human breast milk samples were analyzed in Malaysia, while studies on the pollution level of PBDEs in Malaysia were conducted on mussels, soils, leachate and sediment samples. PCBs in breast milk collected from Malaysia was the highest among Asian developing countries, with mean concentration of 80 ng/g lipid weight. On the other hand, the mean concentration of PCBs in mussels collected from Malaysia recorded the second lowest, with 56 ng/g and 89 ng/g lipid weight in two studies respectively. The concentrations of PBDEs in mussels taken from Malaysia fall in the range of 0.84-16 ng/g lipid weight, which is considerably low compared to 104.5 ng/g lipid weight in Philippines and 90.59 ng/g in Korea. Nevertheless, there are limited studies on these compounds in Malaysia, particularly there is no research on PBDEs in breast milk and sediment samples. This review will summarize the contamination levels of PCBs and PBDEs in different samples collected from Asian countries since 1988 until 2010 with a focus on Malaysia and will provide needed information for further research in this field.
The coral reefs of the Persian Gulf are the most diverse systems of life in the marine environment of the Middle East. Unfortunately, they are highly threatened by local and global stressors, particularly oil pollutants. This is the first quantitative and qualitative study aimed at assessing the concentration and sources of n-alkanes and POPs (PAHs, PCBs and PCNs) in coral tissues, symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae), reef sediments and seawaters in coral reefs of Lark and Kharg in the Persian Gulf, Iran. This work was conducted on eight species of six genera and three families of hard corals and one family of soft coral. A significant variation in the concentration of ∑30n-alkanes and POPs (∑40PAHs, ∑22PCBs and 20PCNs) was found in the decreasing order: zooxanthellae > coral tissue > skeleton > reef sediment > seawater. The bioaccumulation of these compounds was 2-times higher in ahermatypic than in hermatypic corals, among which significant variations were observed in both sites. In Kharg, Porites lutea had the highest mean concentration of ∑30n-alkanes and ∑40PAHs in soft tissue, whereas the lowest values were in Platygyra daedalea. A contrasting trend was documented for ∑22PCBs and 20PCNs, with the highest level reported in soft tissue of P. daedalea and the lowest in P. lutea at Kharg. Compositional pattern of AHs and PAHs demonstrated the predominance of LMW-PAHs and n-alkanes. In skeleton and reef sediments, tetra, penta and tri-CBs were the most abundant PCBs congeners followed by di-CB > hexa-CB > hepta-CB > octa-CB,whiletri-CB > di-CB > tetra-CB > penta-CB > hexa-CB > hepta-CB > octa-CB was observed for soft tissue, zooxanthellae and seawater. The results of RAD test indicated significantly negative correlation between total concentration of these compounds with zooxanthellae density, the chlorophyll-a and C2 in corals at both reefs. This is the first report on levels, health assessment and source apportionments of POPs in zooxanthellae and a first step in the implementation of specific coral reef management measures.