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Keywords:

  • Bioavailability;
  • Contaminated sediment;
  • Equilibrium partitioning;
  • Passive sampling methods;
  • Porewater

Abstract

This article provides practical guidance on the use of passive sampling methods (PSMs) that target the freely dissolved concentration (Cfree) for improved exposure assessment of hydrophobic organic chemicals in sediments. Primary considerations for selecting a PSM for a specific application include clear delineation of measurement goals for Cfree, whether laboratory-based “ex situ” and/or field-based “in situ” application is desired, and ultimately which PSM is best-suited to fulfill the measurement objectives. Guidelines for proper calibration and validation of PSMs, including use of provisional values for polymer–water partition coefficients, determination of equilibrium status, and confirmation of nondepletive measurement conditions are defined. A hypothetical example is described to illustrate how the measurement of Cfree afforded by PSMs reduces uncertainty in assessing narcotic toxicity for sediments contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The article concludes with a discussion of future research that will improve the quality and robustness of Cfree measurements using PSMs, providing a sound scientific basis to support risk assessment and contaminated sediment management decisions. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2014;10:210–223. © 2014 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC.