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Concentrations of parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were studied in wild mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from the Cantabrian coast of Spain after the oil spill produced by the tanker Prestige. Samples were collected in April and June 2003 from the intertidal zone at five sites between Luarca (Asturias) and Igueldo (Basque Country). The PAHs were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection. An increase in the sum of 13 PAHs was observed at all sampling stations in April 2003 relative to a previous survey carried out in October 2000, and the most affected sites were Castro-Urdiales (Cantabria) and Igueldo. In June 2003, a decrease in PAH levels was observed at Avilés (Asturias) and Castro-Urdiales, compared with the April survey, while a small increase was recorded at Igueldo and Bilbao-Azcorri (Basque Country), possibly due to the late arrival of small fuel slicks.
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