John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ecological risk assessment for mink and short‐tailed shrew exposed to PCBs, dioxins and furans in the Housatonic River area

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A probabilistic risk assessment was conducted to characterize risks to a representative piscivorous mammal (mink, Mustela vison) and a representative carnivorous mammal (short‐tailed shrew, Blarina brevicauda) exposed to PCBs, dioxins and furans in the Housatonic River area downstream of the General Electric (GE) facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Contaminant exposure was estimated using a probabilistic total daily intake model, and parameterized using life history information of each species and concentrations of PCBs, dioxins and furans in prey collected in the Housatonic River study area. The effects assessment preferentially relied on dose‐response curves, but defaulted to benchmarks or other estimates of effect when there were insufficient toxicity data. The risk characterization used a weight of evidence approach. Up to three lines of evidence were used to estimate risks to the selected mammal species: (1) probabilistic exposure and effects modeling, (2) field surveys, and (3) species‐specific feeding or field studies. The weight of evidence assessment indicated a high risk for mink and an intermediate risk for short‐tailed shrew. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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