Sediments represent the environmental sector identifiable as the final collection point of rocky materials deriving from the rocks in the emerged land and how much has been spilled into the environment by human activities. Anthropogenic sources can pollute the aquatic environment: some contaminants, which in water are only found in traces, can accumulate in sediments and their concentrations may increase over time. At a later time, contaminants can re-circulate in the environment, by transfer in the above water column.
The danger of polluted sediments lies above all in the fact that any contamination has repercussions on benthic organisms and on other organisms that come into direct or indirect contact with them, with consequences that affect the entire food chain.
Sediments can be used in different ways, especially for nourishment (for example, of shorelines) and for the brick industry: carrying out the analysis is therefore important to acquire knowledge about the degree of pollution of the marine environment (or rivers, lakes, etc.) and for the purpose of the possible re-use or in general of the management of dredged sediments.
Mérieux NutriSciences performs chemical analyzes to detect pollution in marine or lake sediments: the main classes of toxicological and environmental relevant contaminants in sediments are the so-called Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) such as pesticides, plant protection products and PCB (polychlorobiphenyls) and other chlorinated compounds such as dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum-based hydrocarbons.