Development and application of an oil toxicity and exposure model, OilToxEx

Authors

  • Deborah P. French-McCay

    Corresponding author
    1. Applied Science Associates, 70 Dean Knauss Drive, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
    • Applied Science Associates, 70 Dean Knauss Drive, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
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Abstract

An oil toxicity and exposure model (OilToxEx) was developed and validated for estimation of impacts to aquatic organisms resulting from acute exposure to spilled oil. Because oil exposure is shorter than the time required for equilibrium between the organism and the water to be reached, the time and temperature dependence of toxicity is addressed. Oil toxicity is a function of aromatic composition and the toxicity of individual aromatics in the mixture. Lethal concentration to 50% of exposed organisms (LC50), as a function of octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow), and an additive model are used to estimate the toxicity of monoaromatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon mixtures in water-soluble fractions (WSF) and oil-in-water dispersions (OWD) of oil. The toxicity model was verified by comparison with oil bioassay data where the exposure concentrations of aromatics were measured. The observed toxicity in the bioassays could be accounted for by the additive narcotic effects of the dissolved aromatics in the exposure media. Predicted LC50s were compared to those calculated from measured concentrations after spills to verify the exposure model for field conditions. These results indicate that the additive toxicity and exposure model may be used to estimate toxicity of untested oils and spill conditions.

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