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Mar Pollut Bull. 2002 Dec;44(12):1321-6.

PAH phototoxicity--an ecologically irrelevant phenomenon?

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EVS Environmental Consultants, 195 Pemberton Avenue, North Vancouver, BC, Canada V7P 2R4.


Photoenhanced toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is well demonstrated in laboratory and in a few in situ studies. Effects have been observed for multiple taxa and toxicological endpoints, and the mechanism of toxic action has been described. However, this phenomenon is ameliorated by physical, chemical and biotic factors. The ecological relevance of PAH phototoxicity remains uncertain; it should not be used for environmental management decisions unless its ecological relevance is firmly established, and then only as part of a weight of evidence determination.

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