Estimating risk at a Superfund site using passive sampling devices as biological surrogates in human health risk models

Environmental and Molecular Toxicology Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.
Chemosphere (Impact Factor: 3.34). 07/2011; 85(6):920-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.06.051
Source: PubMed


Passive sampling devices (PSDs) sequester the freely dissolved fraction of lipophilic contaminants, mimicking passive chemical uptake and accumulation by biomembranes and lipid tissues. Public Health Assessments that inform the public about health risks from exposure to contaminants through consumption of resident fish are generally based on tissue data, which can be difficult to obtain and requires destructive sampling. The purpose of this study is to apply PSD data in a Public Health Assessment to demonstrate that PSDs can be used as a biological surrogate to evaluate potential human health risks and elucidate spatio-temporal variations in risk. PSDs were used to measure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Willamette River; upriver, downriver and within the Portland Harbor Superfund megasite for 3 years during wet and dry seasons. Based on an existing Public Health Assessment for this area, concentrations of PAHs in PSDs were substituted for fish tissue concentrations. PSD measured PAH concentrations captured the magnitude, range and variability of PAH concentrations reported for fish/shellfish from Portland Harbor. Using PSD results in place of fish data revealed an unacceptable risk level for cancer in all seasons but no unacceptable risk for non-cancer endpoints. Estimated cancer risk varied by several orders of magnitude based on season and location. Sites near coal tar contamination demonstrated the highest risk, particularly during the dry season and remediation activities. Incorporating PSD data into Public Health Assessments provides specific spatial and temporal contaminant exposure information that can assist public health professionals in evaluating human health risks.

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Available from: Greg James Sower, Oct 16, 2014
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    • "When these passive samplers are placed in the aquatic environment , they mimic the bioconcentration process of aquatic animals absorbing PAHs from the surrounding area, and concentrations of PAHs in the passive samplers are then integrated over the entire duration of exposure (Huckins et al. 1990). In addition, the passive samplers are effective in measuring time-integrated subnanograms-per-liter levels of PAHs in water (Lohmann and Muir 2010; Allan et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: One year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill accident, semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) and polyethylene devices (PEDs) were deployed in wetland areas and coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to monitor polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The measured PAH levels with the PEDs in coastal areas were 0.05-1.9 ng/L in water and 0.03-9.7 ng/L in sediment porewater. With the SPMDs, the measured PAH levels in wetlands (Barataria Bay) were 1.4-73 ng/L in water and 3.3-107 ng/L in porewater. The total PAH concentrations in the coastal areas were close to the reported baseline PAH concentrations in GOM; however, the total PAH concentrations in the wetland areas were one or two orders of magnitude higher than those reported in the coastal areas. In light of the significant spatial variability of PAHs in the Gulf's environments, baseline information on PAHs should be obtained in specific areas periodically.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
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    • "Passives sampler membranes mimic contaminant uptake by a cell or organism through selective chemical and physical processes [7]. PSDs can be used to assess exposure and contamination in water [8,9]. The freely dissolved (Cfree) forms of hydrophobic contaminants can be absorbed by or moved through biological membranes of organisms, where they may exert toxic effects [10,11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is difficult to assess pollution in remote areas of less-developed regions owing to the limited availability of energy, equipment, technology, trained personnel and other key resources. Passive sampling devices (PSDs) are technologically simple analytical tools that sequester and concentrate bioavailable organic contaminants from the environment. Scientists from Oregon State University and the Centre Régional de Recherches en Ecotoxicologie et de Sécurité Environnementale (CERES) in Senegal developed a partnership to build capacity at CERES and to develop a pesticide-monitoring project using PSDs. This engagement resulted in the development of a dynamic training process applicable to capacity-building programmes. The project culminated in a field and laboratory study where paired PSD samples were simultaneously analysed in African and US laboratories with quality control evaluation and traceability. The joint study included sampling from 63 sites across six western African countries, generating a 9000 data point pesticide database with virtual access to all study participants.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences
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    • "Again, for those situations in which the exposure pathways have been properly identified and characterized, measurements of C free via PSMs could be used to help parameterize models. Allan et al. (2011) describe the use of these devices in the context of human health risk assessment. Although the sampling of biota tissues will remain central to human health risk assessments or contaminants transferred via food webs, measurements of C free can help inform managers concerning the potential that a site would contribute to concentrations of contaminants in biota tissues. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper details how activity-based passive sampling methods (PSMs), which provide information on bioavailability in terms of freely dissolved contaminant concentrations (Cfree ), can be used to better inform risk management decision-making at multiple points in the process of assessing and managing contaminated sediment sites. Because Cfree is a better predictor of bioavailability than total bulk sediment concentration (Ctotal ) for four key endpoints included in conceptual site models (benthic organism toxicity, bioaccumulation, sediment flux, and water column exposures), PSMs can increase certainty in site investigation and management. Because of their small size, the use of PSDs presents particular challenges with respect to representative sampling for estimating average concentrations and other metrics relevant for exposure and risk assessment. These challenges can be addressed by designing studies that account for sources of variation associated with the PSDs and spatial scales. Possible applications of PSMs include: quantifying spatial and temporal trends in bioavailable contaminants; identifying and evaluating contaminant source contributions; calibrating site-specific models; and, improving weight-of-evidence based decision frameworks. PSM data can be used to: assist in delineating sediment management zones based on likelihood of exposure effects; monitor remedy effectiveness; and, evaluate risk reduction after sediment treatment, disposal, or beneficial reuse following management actions. Examples are provided illustrating why PSMs and Cfree should be incorporated into contaminated sediment investigations and study designs to better understand and focus on contaminant bioavailability, more accurately estimate exposure to sediment-associated contaminants, and better inform risk management decisions. Research and communication needs for encouraging broader use are discussed. Integr Environ Assess Manag © 2013 SETAC.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
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