The dioxins toxic equivalent (TEQ) concentration in surface soils, river sediments and river-mouth sediments was measured by the CALUX assay in the Yasu and Ado River basins around Lake Biwa, Japan. In order to examine the distribution of dioxins in each watershed, we evaluated and compared the correlation between the dioxins TEQ concentration and the solid characteristics (i.e. organic carbon content and particle size distribution) of all samples. In both basins, the dioxins TEQ concentration in forest soil correspondingly showed a very good linear relationship to organic carbon content. On the other hand, the dioxins TEQ concentration in paddy field was significantly high, although organic carbon content was relatively low. Generally, the smaller particles have the higher dioxins TEQ concentrations in surface soils, and river sediments were composed of very coarse particles and had relatively low dioxins TEQ concentration. Therefore, we expected high dioxins TEQ concentration in river-mouth sediment, which was, however, not the case. Although the dioxins TEQ concentration in river-mouth sediments is low, the degree of dioxins pollution was different in each basin. The difference was considered to come from the difference of watershed properties including land use, river-slope, dam construction as well as the surface soil pollution.

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