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PLoS One. 2017 Feb 6;12(2):e0170105. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170105. eCollection 2017.

Water Quality Criteria for Copper Based on the BLM Approach in the Freshwater in China.

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State Key Laboratory for Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Ecological Effects and Risk Assessment of Chemicals, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Chaoyang Distinct, Beijing, People's Republic of China.
Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center, MEP, Chaoyang District, Beijing, People's Republic of China.
Guangxi Polytechnic of Construction, Xixiangtang District, Nanning, Guangxi Province, People's Republic of China.
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guilin University of Technology, Guilin, Guangxi Province, People's Republic of China.
Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China.


The bioavailability and toxicity of metals to aquatic organisms are highly dependent on water quality parameters in freshwaters. The biotic ligand model (BLM) for copper is an approach to generate the water quality criteria (WQC) with water chemistry in the ambient environment. However, few studies were carried out on the WQCs for copper based on the BLM approach in China. In the present study, the toxicity for copper to native Chinese aquatic organisms was conducted and the published toxicity data with water quality parameters to Chinese aquatic species were collected to derive the WQCs for copper by the BLM approach. The BLM-based WQCs (the criterion maximum criteria (CMC) and the criterion continuous concentration (CCC)) for copper in the freshwater for the nation and in the Taihu Lake were obtained. The CMC and CCC values for copper in China were derived to be 1.391 μg/L and 0.495 μg/L, respectively, and the CMC and CCC in the Taihu Lake were 32.194 μg/L and 9.697 μg/L. The high concentration of dissolved organic carbon might be a main reason which resulted in the higher WQC values in the Taihu Lake. The WQC of copper in the freshwater would provide a scientific foundation for water quality standards and the environment risk assessment in China.

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