John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effects‐based marine ecological risk assessment at a polychlorinated biphenylcontaminated site in Saglek, Labrador, Canada

Although the presence and distribution of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Arctic marine environments has been well documented, the implications for the health of biota are poorly understood. In the present study, multiple lines of evidence, including site‐specific effects data, were used to assess PCB‐related risks to marine biota at a contaminated military site in Saglek Bay, Labrador, Canada, from 1997 to 1999. Risks were evaluated for three components of the ecosystem: benthic invertebrates, a bottom‐feeding fish (shorthorn sculpin, Myoxocephalus scorpius), and a diving seabird (black guillemot, Cepphus grylle). Average sediment PCB concentrations exceeded the Canadian interim sediment quality guideline level by 41‐fold. However, sediment toxicity testing and a benthic community survey showed no evidence of adverse effects. In contrast, shorthorn sculpin and black guillemot PCB exposures (measured as sum of congeners) were elevated enough to pose risks to survival or reproduction. Based on the collective evidence, we estimated that risks were posed by sediment PCB concentrations greater than 77 ng/g dry weight for black guillemots and 750 ng/g dry weight for shorthorn sculpins. The present study, along with two parallel studies, provided information to support the management decisions concerning potential remedial action on the contaminated sediments. This ecological risk assessment describes the steps and rationale taken to evaluate the risk posed by an area of PCB‐contaminated marine sediments in an otherwise relatively pristine northern coastal environment. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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