[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mean sediment quality guideline quotients (mean SQGQs) were developed to represent the presence of chemical mixtures in sediments and are derived by normalizing a suite of chemicals to their respective numerical sediment quality guidelines (SQGs). Mean SQGQs incorporate the number of SQGs exceeded and the degree to which they are exceeded and are used for comparison with observed biological effects in the laboratory or field. The current research makes it clear, however, that the number and type of SQGs used in the derivation of these mean quotients can influence the ability of mean SQGQ values to correctly predict acute toxicity to marine amphipods in laboratory toxicity tests. To determine the optimal predictive ability of mean SQGQs, a total of 18 different chemical combinations were developed and compared. The ability of each set of mean SQGQs to correctly predict the presence and absence of acute toxicity to amphipods was determined using three independent databases (n = 605, 2753, 226). Calculated mean SQGQ values for all chemical combinations ranged from 0.002 to 100. The mean SQGQ that was most predictive of acute toxicity to amphipods is calculated as SQGQ1 = ((sigma ([cadmium]/4.21 )([copper]/270)([lead]/ 12.18)([silver]/1.77)([zinc]/ 410)([total chlordane]/6)([dieldrin]/8)([total PAHoc]/1,800)([total PCB]/400))/9). Both the incidence and magnitude of acute toxicity to amphipods increased with increasing SQGQI values. To provide better comparability between regions and national surveys, SQGQ1 is recommended to serve as the standard method for combination of chemicals and respective SQGs when calculating mean SQGQs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sediment quality was assessed in San Francisco Bay, California, USA, using a two-tiered approach in which 111 sites were initially screened for sediment toxicity. Sites exhibiting toxicity were then resampled and analyzed for chemical contamination, recurrent toxicity, and, in some cases, benthic community impacts. Resulting data were compared with newly derived threshold values for each of the metrics in a triad-based weight-of-evidence evaluation. Sediment toxicity test results were compared with tolerance limits derived from reference site data, benthic community data were compared with threshold values for a relative benthic index based on the presence and abundance of pollution-tolerant and -sensitive taxa, and concentrations of chemicals and chemical mixtures were compared with sediment quality guideline-based thresholds. A total of 57 sites exceeded threshold values for at least one metric, and each site was categorized based on triad inferences. Nine sites were found to exhibit recurrent sediment toxicity associated with elevated contaminant concentrations, conditions that met program criteria for regulatory attention. Benthic community impacts were also observed at three of these sites, providing triad evidence of pollution-induced degradation. Multi- and univariate correlations indicated that chemical mixtures, heavy metals, chlordanes, and other organic compounds were associated with measured biological impacts in the Bay. Toxicity identification evaluations indicated that metals were responsible for pore-water toxicity to sea urchin larvae at two sites. Gradient studies indicated that the toxicity tests and benthic community metrics employed in the study predictably tracked concentrations of chemical mixtures in Bay sediments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sediment reference sites were used to establish toxicity standards against which to compare results from sites investigated in San Francisco Bay (California, USA) monitoring programs. The reference sites were selected on the basis of low concentrations of anthropogenic chemicals, distance from active contaminant sources, location in representative hydrographic areas of the Bay, and physical features characteristic of depositional areas (e.g., fine grain size and medium total organic carbon [TOC]). Five field-replicated sites in San Francisco Bay were evaluated over three seasons. Samples from each site were tested with nine toxicity test protocols and were analyzed for sediment grain size and concentrations of trace metals, trace organics, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and TOC. The candidate sites were found to have relatively low concentrations of measured chemicals and generally exhibited low toxicity. Toxicity data from the reference sites were then used to calculate numerical tolerance limits to be used as threshold values to determine which test sites had significantly higher toxicity than reference sites. Tolerance limits are presented for four standard test protocols, including solid-phase sediment tests with the amphipods Ampelisca abdita and Eohaustorius estuarius and sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus embryo/larval development tests in pore water and at the sediment-water interface (SWI). Tolerance limits delineating the lowest 10th percentile (0.10 quantile) of the reference site data distribution were 71% of the control response for Ampelisca, 70% for Eohaustorius, 94% for sea urchin embryos in pore water, and 87% for sea urchins embryos exposed at the SWI. The tolerance limits are discussed in terms of the critical values governing their calculation and the management implications arising from their use in determining elevated toxicity relative to reference conditions.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 07/2001; 20(6):1266-75. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of methods have been employed to determine the statistical significance of sediment toxicity test results. To allow consistency among comparisons, regardless of among-replicate variability, a protocol-specific approach has been used that considers protocol performance over a large number of comparisons. Ninetieth-percentile minimum significant difference (MSD) values were calculated to determine a critical threshold for statistically significant sample toxicity. Significant toxicity threshold values (as a percentage of laboratory control values) are presented for six species and nine endpoints based on data from as many as 720 stations. These threshold values are useful for interpreting sediment toxicity data from large studies and in eliminating cases where statistical significance is assigned in individual cases because among-replicate variability is small.