Differential presence of anthropogenic compounds dissolved in the marine waters of Puget Sound, WA and Barkley Sound, BC

Mar Pollut Bull. 2011 Nov;62(11):2404-11. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.08.029. Epub 2011 Sep 13.


Organic compounds were evaluated in March 2010 at 22 stations in Barkley Sound, Vancouver Island Canada and at 66 locations in Puget Sound. Of 37 compounds, 15 were xenobiotics, 8 were determined to have an anthropogenic imprint over natural sources, and 13 were presumed to be of natural or mixed origin. The three most frequently detected compounds were salicyclic acid, vanillin and thymol. The three most abundant compounds were diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), ethyl vanillin and benzaldehyde (∼600 n g L(-1) on average). Concentrations of xenobiotics were 10-100 times higher in Puget Sound relative to Barkley Sound. Three compound couplets are used to illustrate the influence of human activity on marine waters; vanillin and ethyl vanillin, salicylic acid and acetylsalicylic acid, and cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid. Ratios indicate that anthropogenic activities are the predominant source of these chemicals in Puget Sound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Benzaldehydes / analysis
  • British Columbia
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Salicylates / analysis
  • Seawater / analysis*
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Thymol / analysis
  • Washington
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Xenobiotics / analysis*


  • Benzaldehydes
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Salicylates
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Xenobiotics
  • Thymol
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate
  • vanillin
  • benzaldehyde