Surface sediment from three polluted sites within Cork Harbour, Ireland, and from a relatively clean reference site were collected and analysed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), organotins (OTs), and heavy metals. PAHs were determined to be the most abundant class of contaminant. Concentrations of the sum (Sigma) of the 21 PAHs measured from the Harbour sites (2877.70 ng g(-1), 1000.7 ng g(-1) and 924.40 ng g(-1) dry weight respectively) were significantly higher than that of the sediment from the reference site (528.30 ng g(-1) dry weight). An inner harbour site, Douglas being the more contaminated of the three harbour sites. A similar pattern was observed with the other contaminants however, these compounds, with the exception of the heavy metals, all tended to be detected at concentrations on or below detection limits. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.