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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2006 Jan 8;69(1-2):109-23.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) ecotoxicology in marine ecosystems.

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Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway.


Low levels of oil and hence polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are naturally present in the marine environment, although levels have increased significantly following human extraction and use of oil and gas. Other major anthropogenic sources of PAHs include smelters, the use of fossil fuels in general, and various methods of waste disposal, especially incineration. There are two major sources for PAHs to marine ecosystems in Norway: the inshore smelter industry, and offshore oil and gas production activities. A distinction is generally made between petrogenic (oil-derived) and pyrogenic (combustion-derived) PAHs. Although petrogenic PAHs appear to be bioavailable to a large extent, pyrogenic PAHs are often associated with soot particles and less available for uptake into organisms. There is extensive evidence linking sediment-associated PAHs to induction of phase-I enzymes, development of DNA adducts, and eventually neoplastic lesions in fish. Most studies have focused on high-molecular-weight, carcinogenic PAHs such as benzo[a]pyrene. It is less clear how two- and three-ring PAHs affect fish, and there is even experimental evidence to indicate that these chemicals may inhibit some components of the phase I system rather than produce induction. There is a need for increased research efforts to clarify biological effects of two- and three-ring PAHs, PAH mixtures, and adaptation processes in marine ecosystems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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