John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PETROTOX: An aquatic toxicity model for petroleum substances

A spreadsheet model (PETROTOX) is described that predicts the aquatic toxicity of complex petroleum substances from petroleum substance composition. Substance composition is characterized by specifying mass fractions in constituent hydrocarbon blocks (HBs), based on available analytical information. The HBs are defined by their mass fractions within a defined carbon number range or boiling point interval. Physicochemical properties of the HBs are approximated by assigning representative hydrocarbons from a database of individual hydrocarbons with associated physicochemical properties. A three‐phase fate model is used to simulate the distribution of each structure among the water‐, air‐, and oil‐phase liquid in the laboratory test system. Toxicity is then computed based on the predicted aqueous concentrations and aquatic toxicity of each structure and the target lipid model. The toxicity of the complex substance is computed assuming additivity of the contribution of the individual assigned hydrocarbons. Model performance was evaluated by using direct comparisons with measured toxicity data for petroleum substances with sufficient analytical characterization to run the model. Indirect evaluations were made by comparing predicted toxicity distributions using analytical data on petroleum substances from different product categories with independent, empirical distributions of toxicity data available for the same categories. Predictions compared favorably with measured aquatic toxicity data across different petroleum substance categories. These findings demonstrate the utility of PETROTOX for assessing environmental hazards of petroleum substances given knowledge of substance composition. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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