John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Comparative effects of sediment versus aqueous PCB exposure on benthic and planktonic invertebrates

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are an environmental concern due to their adverse effects on humans and wildlife, and understanding the contribution of various matrices (i.e., sediment and water) to PCB exposure on aquatic communities is critical for successful remediation of impacted sites. The present study examined the toxicity of different routes of PCBs exposure in aquatic invertebrates. In complementary laboratory and field experiments, we compared effects of aqueous versus sedimentary exposure of PCBs on invertebrates. In laboratory bioassays, the planktonic Daphnia pulex and benthic Chironomus dilutus exhibited significant mortality when exposed to PCB contaminated (1,100 µg/g) sediment (p = 0.03 and p < 0.01, respectively). In field experiments, adult Dreissena bugensis were placed in cages along a depth gradient at a reference site and a PCB impacted site in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA. Mussels experienced significantly greater mortality (p < 0.001) when placed in close proximity to impacted site sediments compared to reference sediments. After 7 days, 94% D. bugensis survived at the reference site compared to only 57% surviving at the impacted site. In addition, D. bugensis at the impacted site experienced significantly less mortality at the water surface (p < 0.001) compared to those near the sediment. The present study demonstrates the importance of evaluating toxicity at the sediment‐water interface. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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