There is a recognized dearth of standard environmental quality data in the wider Caribbean area, especially on coral atolls/small island states. Extensive surveys of sediment contamination (n = 109 samples) in Bermuda revealed a wide spectrum of environmental quality. Zinc and especially copper levels were elevated at some locations, associated with boating (antifouling paints and boatyard discharges). Mercury contamination was surprisingly prevalent, with total levels as high as 12 mg kg(-1) DW, although methyl mercury levels were quite low. PAH, PCB and PCDD/PCDF contamination was detected a several hotspots associated with road run-off, a marine landfill, and a former US Naval annexe. NOAA sediment quality guidelines were exceeded at several locations, indicating biological effects are possible, or at some locations probable. Overall, and despite lack of industrialization, anthropogenic chemicals in sediments of the atoll presented a risk to benthic biodiversity at a number of hotspots suggesting a need for sediment management strategies. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.