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Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Dec 15;38(24):6451-9.

Comparison of risk assessment methodologies for exposure of mink to PCBs on the Kalamazoo River, Michigan.

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  • 1Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.


Risk assessments are generally based on exposures predicted by use of simple models of accumulation from abiotic compartments or the diet. The use of tissue-specific measurements of residue concentrations in wildlife tissues is more accurate and subject to less uncertainty, but these data are often not available. This report compares the results of two different site-specific approaches for assessing the risk of PCBs to mink residing along the Kalamazoo River, MI. The first approach was based on hepatic concentrations of PCBs and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents (TEQs) of mink. The second approach was based on measured concentrations of both PCBs and TEQs in the diets of mink. For each of these methodologies, assessments were based on no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) or concentrations (NOAECs) and lowest observed adverse effect levels (LOAELs) or concentrations (LOAECs). Samples of mink (Mustela vison) and its diet were collected from within the Kalamazoo River Area of Concern (KRAOC) and an upstream reference area in the Fort Custer Recreation Area (FC). Hazard quotient (HQ) values were calculated based on congener-specific concentrations of PCBs or TEQs, several toxicity reference values (TRVs), and several assumed dietary compositions. Mean total hepatic concentrations of PCBs were 2.7 and 2.3 mg PCBs/kg, ww, in mink from the KRAOC and FC, respectively. HQs based on the LOAEC and mean hepatic PCB concentrations ranged from 0.37 to 0.87 at KRAOC and 0.31-0.73 at FC. HQs based on PCBs in the diet ranged from 0.20 to 1.8 at KRAOC and from 0.04 to 0.35 at FC. Dietary HQs were less than 10-fold different than tissue-based HQs.

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