2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) was measured in sediments and suspended matter samples from estuaries adjacent to an industrial site in Newark, NJ, where chlorinated phenols had been produced. Present day and recent historical levels of 2,3,7,8-TCDD contamination were established through the use of radionuclide time tracers (Be-7, Cs-137). Concentrations up to 21 000 parts per trillion (ppt) were found in sediments deposited near the site. Pre-1950 production of DDT at the same industrial site provided another sensitive pollutant source tracer. The total deposition of 2,3,7,8-TCDD in Newark Bay sediments since the late 1940s has been approximately 4-8 kg, among the largest releases documented to date. Sediments dredged from estuaries in this region have been disposed of on land surrounding Newark Bay and at a coastal ocean dumpsite.
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