EPA Science Inventory

WHAT’S CAUSING TOXICITY IN SEDIMENTS? RESULTS OF 20 YEARS OF TOXICITY IDENTIFICATION AND EVALUATIONS

Citation:

HO, K. T. AND R. M. BURGESS. WHAT’S CAUSING TOXICITY IN SEDIMENTS? RESULTS OF 20 YEARS OF TOXICITY IDENTIFICATION AND EVALUATIONS. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL, 32(11):2424-2432, (2013).

Description:

Sediment toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE) methods have been used for 20 yr to identify the causes of toxicity in sediments around the world. In the present study, the authors summarize and categorize results of 36 peer-reviewed TIE studies (67 sediments) into nonionic organic, cationic, ammonia, and “other” toxicant groups. Results are then further categorized according to whether the study was performed in freshwater or marine sediments and whether the study was performed using whole-sediment or interstitial-water TIE methods. When all studies were grouped, nonionic organic toxicants, either singly or in combination with other toxicants, were implicated in 70% of all studies. When studies were divided into interstitial-water TIE methodology compared with whole-sediment TIE methodology, results indicated that studies performed using interstitial-water TIE methods reported nonionic organic toxicity slightly more often than toxicity from cationic metals (67%compared with 49%). In contrast, studies using whole-sediment TIE methods report nonionic organic chemical toxicity, either singly or in combination with another toxicant, in 90% of all sediments tested. Cationicmetals play a much smaller role in whole-sediment TIE studies—fewer than 20% of all sediments had a metals signal. The discrepancy between the 2 methods can be attributed to exposure differences.

Purpose/Objective:

This critical review provides an overview and findings of published TIE studies over the past 20 years. Non-ionic organic chemicals, either singly or in concert with other toxicants, were found to be the cause of toxicity in over 70% of all sediments tested. Cationic metals played the next largest role at 35%, and ammonia was responsible for toxicity in 26% of all sediments tested. Further analysis breaks down the results into differences between marine and freshwater sediments, and those studies performed using whole sediment methods or interstitial water methods. This summary provides a snapshot for the causes of toxicity in sediments tested around the world.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 11/01/2013
Completion Date: 11/01/2013
Record Last Revised: 10/22/2013
Record Created: 04/10/2007
Record Released: 04/10/2007
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 167343

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

POPULATION ECOLOGY BRANCH