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Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Sep 1;45(17):7481-8. doi: 10.1021/es200724x. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Genotoxicity and endocrine-disruption potentials of sediment near an oil spill site: two years after the Hebei Spirit oil spill.

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School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


The Hebei Spirit oil spill episode (December 7, 2007) has affected the western coastal area of South Korea; however, there is limited information on the potential toxicity of the oil spill to the ecosystem or humans. The potential toxicity of sediments collected from the affected area (n = 22) 2 years after the spill was evaluated. Acute lethal toxicity tests using Vibrio fischeri and Moina macrocopa and tests for genotoxicity and alteration of steroidogenesis using chicken DT40 cells and H295R cells, respectively, were conducted. Both crude and weathered oil extracts were evaluated in order to link the observed toxicity in the sediment extracts to the oil spill. Whereas toxicity to bacteria and daphnids was observed in only two elutriate samples, 10 of the 22 sediment extracts showed genotoxic potential in DT40 cells. The mechanisms of genotoxicity involved nucleotide excision repair (XPA(-/)), homologous recombination (RAD54(-/-)), and translesion synthesis pathways (REV3(-/-)). In addition, nine sediment extracts caused significantly greater production of E2 in H295R cells, and significant up-regulation of CYP19, CYP11B2, and 3╬▓HSD2 by sediment extracts was observed. The pattern of toxicities observed in both crude and weathered oil samples was similar to that observed in the sediment extracts. The genotoxicicity and endocrine-disruption potential of the sediment extracts suggest a need for long-term followup for such toxicity in humans and wildlife in this area.

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