Boese, B. L., R.J. Ozretich, J.O. Lamberson, F.A. Cole, R.C. Swartz, and S.P.Ferraro. 2000. Phototoxic evaluation of marine sediments collected from a PAH contaminated site. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 38:274-282.
The phototoxicity potential of PAH-contaminated field sediment was evaluated and compared to standard sediment toxicity test results. Marine sediments were collected from 30 sites along a presumed PAH sediment pollution gradient in Elliot Bay, WA. Standard 10-day acute and 28-day chronic sediment toxicity tests were conducted with the infaunal amphipods Rhepoxynius abronius and Leptocheirus plumulosus using mortality and the ability to rebury as endpoints. The survivors of these tests were then subjected to 1-h exposures to UV radiation with mortality and reburial again determined. The most highly toxic sediments identified in these experiments were evaluated further for toxicity and phototoxicity by serially diluting them with uncontaminated sediment and repeating the toxicity tests. Standard 10-day toxicity test results indicated that over 70% of the sites sampled in Elliot bay exhibited measurable toxicity with nine sites being highly toxic to both species of amphipods. Result of standard 28-day chronic sediment toxicity tests were similar. In contrast, almost all of the sites were found to be highly phototoxic. Results indicated that exposure to UV increased toxicity five to eightfold. This suggests that standard toxicity tests underestimate the potential ecological risk of PAH-contaminated sediments in animals exposed to sunlight. However, only when PAH contamination was between 0.05 and 1.0 toxic units would conducting a phototoxicity evaluation add information to that gained from conducting a standard sediment toxicity test alone.