Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4585
Title: Tissue-based environmental quality benchmarks and standards
Author: James P. Meador, Michael St. J. Warne, Peter M. Chapman, King M. Chan, S. Yu, Kenneth M.Y. Leung
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume: 21
Issue: 1
Pages: 28-32
Keywords: toxicity,contaminant guidelines,aquatic,tissue residue toxcity

Although the use of tissue concentrations (residues) of chemical contaminants as
the dose metric to characterize chemical toxicity to aquatic organisms has been gaining
acceptance over the past 20 years, tissue concentrations are less commonly used in water quality
management and have yet to be formally adopted as benchmarks or environmental quality
standards (EQS). This synthesis paper addresses advantages and disadvantages for the
development and application of tissue-based EQS as an alternative and supplement to exposurebased
EQS determined with water and sediment concentration data. Tissue-based EQS can be
readily developed in parallel with conventional toxicity tests, and achieved by quantification of
chemical concentrations in tissue alongside traditional concentration-response toxicity testing.
Tissue-residue toxicity metrics can be used as benchmarks for screening and monitoring water
and sediment quality, to derive equivalent water or sediment EQS, and for ecological risk
assessments and weight of evidence approaches for assessing ecosystem impairment. Tissuebased
toxicity metrics and associated EQS provide several advantages; however, there are some
limitations to consider and key knowledge gaps to fill.


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Theme: Habitats to Support Sustainable Fisheries and Recovered Populations
Foci: Characterize the interaction of human use and habitat distribution, quantity and quality.
Develop effective and efficient habitat restoration and conservation techniques.