Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminant concentrations in 870 composite oyster samples from coastal and estuarine areas of the Gulf of Mexico analyzed as part of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Status and Trends (NS&T) Mussel Watch Program exhibit a log-normal distribution. There are two major populations in the data. The cumulative frequency function was used to deconvolute the data distribution into two probability density functions and calculate summary statistics for each population. The first population consists of sites with lower PAH concentration probably due to background contamination (i.e. stormwater runoff, atmospheric deposition). The second population are sites with higher concentrations of PAHs associated with local point sources of PAH input (i.e. small oil spills, etc.). The temporal pattern for the mean concentration of the populations from the Gulf of Mexico is consistent with large-scale climatic factors such as the El Niño cycles which affect the precipitation regime.