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Keywords:

  • Organic chemicals;
  • Critical body residues;
  • Tissue residue approach;
  • Target lipid model

Abstract

This paper reviews the tissue residue approach (TRA) for toxicity assessment as it applies to organic chemicals and some organometallic compounds (Sn, Hg, and Pb) in aquatic organisms. Specific emphasis was placed on evaluating key factors that influence interpretation of critical body residue (CBR) toxicity metrics including data quality issues, lipid dynamics, choice of endpoints, processes that alter toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, phototoxicity, species- and life stage-specific sensitivities, and biotransformation. The vast majority of data available on TRA is derived from laboratory studies of acute lethal responses to organic toxicants exhibiting baseline toxicity. Application of the TRA to various baseline toxicants as well as substances with specific modes of action via receptor-mediated processes, such as chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, and organometallics is discussed, as is application of TRA concepts in field assessments of tissue residues. In contrast to media-based toxicity relationships, CBR values tend to be less variable and less influenced by factors that control bioavailability and bioaccumulation, and TRA can be used to infer mechanisms of toxic action, evaluate the toxicity of mixtures, and interpret field data on bioaccumulated toxicants. If residue-effects data are not available, body residues can be estimated, as has been done using the target lipid model for baseline toxicants, to derive critical values for risk assessment. One of the primary unresolved issues complicating TRA for organic chemicals is biotransformation. Further work on the influence of biotransformation, a better understanding of contaminant lipid interactions, and an explicit understanding of the time dependency of CBRs and receptor-mediated toxicity are all required to advance this field. Additional residue-effects data on sublethal endpoints, early life stages, and a wider range of legacy and emergent contaminants will be needed to improve the ability to use TRA for organic and organometallic compounds. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2011;7:50–74. © 2010 SETAC