John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Towards Ecosystem Based Sediment Quality Guidelines for PCB

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To investigate whether Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQG) for PCBs in Canada and British Columbia achieve their objective of protecting ecosystems, we measured and compiled concentrations of PCB congeners in sediments, bivalves, crustaceans, fish and marine mammals from three areas off the pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada. The concentration data showed that while PCB concentrations in sediments were predominantly below the SQG of 20 μg/kg dw, large fractions of the PCB concentrations in fish and shell fish species exceeded the tissue residue guideline for the consumption of fish and shell fish by wildlife (i.e. 50 μg/kg ww), but were below the tissue residue guideline for the consumption of fish and shell fish by human populations (i.e. 2,000 μg/kg ww). Also, PCB concentrations in marine mammals exceeded toxicity reference concentrations. The concentration data were used to develop species and location specific Biota‐Sediment Accumulation Factors (BSAF=Cbiota/Csediment), that were used to estimate PCB concentrations in wildlife species that may exist if the PCB concentration in sediments are equal to the SQG. The results show that if the PCB concentration is equal to the SQG, then PCB concentrations in most wildlife species can be expected to exceed the tissue residue guideline for the consumption of fish and shell fish by wildlife species and by humans, as well as toxicity reference concentrations for marine mammals. A methodology for developing SQGs for PCBs that are protective of the health of different wildlife species and human consumers of fish and shellfish from general Canadian and coastal First Nations populations was developed and applied. The proposed guidelines may provide useful guidance to establish SQGs for PCBs that can account for the ecological diversity in coastal environments and that better achieve the intent of the guidelines to protect ecosystems. The proposed methodology for guideline development may also be useful in the development of sediment quality guidelines for other bioaccumulative substances. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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