Comparing laboratory- and field-measured biota–sediment accumulation factors



Standardized laboratory protocols for measuring the accumulation of chemicals from sediments are used in assessing new and existing chemicals, evaluating navigational dredging materials, and establishing site-specific biota–sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) for contaminated sediment sites. The BSAFs resulting from the testing protocols provide insight into the behavior and risks associated with individual chemicals. In addition to laboratory measurement, BSAFs can also be calculated from field data, including samples from studies using in situ exposure chambers and caging studies. The objective of this report is to compare and evaluate paired laboratory and field measurement of BSAFs and to evaluate the extent of their agreement. The peer-reviewed literature was searched for studies that conducted laboratory and field measurements of chemical bioaccumulation using the same or taxonomically related organisms. In addition, numerous Superfund and contaminated sediment site study reports were examined for relevant data. A limited number of studies were identified with paired laboratory and field measurements of BSAFs. BSAF comparisons were made between field-collected oligochaetes and the laboratory test organism Lumbriculus variegatus and field-collected bivalves and the laboratory test organisms Macoma nasuta and Corbicula fluminea. Our analysis suggests that laboratory BSAFs for the oligochaete L. variegatus are typically within a factor of 2 of the BSAFs for field-collected oligochaetes. Bivalve study results also suggest that laboratory BSAFs can provide reasonable estimates of field BSAF values if certain precautions are taken, such as ensuring that steady-state values are compared and that extrapolation among bivalve species is conducted with caution. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2012;8:32–41. © 2011 SETAC