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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2010 May;73(4):559-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2009.12.030. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Toxicity assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments from European high mountain lakes.

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Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Jordi Girona 18, 08034 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


Sediment quality guidelines and toxic equivalent factors have been used for assessment of the toxicity of sedimentary long-range atmospherically transported polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the organisms living in high mountain European lakes. This method has provided indices that are consistent with experimental studies evaluating in situ sedimentary estrogenic activity or physiological response to AhR binding in fish from the same lakes. All examined lakes in north, central, west, northeast and southeast European mountains have shown sedimentary PAH concentrations that are above thresholds of no effect but only those situated in the southeast lakes district exhibited concentrations above the indices of probable effects. These mountains, Tatras, are also those having PAH concentrations of highest activity for AhR binding. Chrysene+triphenylene, dibenz[a]anthracene, benzo[k]fluoranthene and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene are the main compounds responsible for the observed toxic effects.

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