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Resolving the false‐negative issues of the nonpolar organic amendment in whole‐sediment toxicity identification evaluations

Mehler, W. Tyler, Keough, Michael J., Pettigrove, Vincent
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2018 v.37 no.4 pp. 1219-1230
Chironomus, activated carbon, bioassays, charcoal, coconuts, risk, sediments, toxicity
Three common false‐negative scenarios have been encountered with amendment addition in whole‐sediment toxicity identification evaluations (TIEs): dilution of toxicity by amendment addition (i.e., not toxic enough), not enough amendment present to reduce toxicity (i.e., too toxic), and the amendment itself elicits a toxic response (i.e., secondary amendment effect). One such amendment in which all 3 types of false‐negatives have been observed is with the nonpolar organic amendment (activated carbon or powdered coconut charcoal). The objective of the present study was to reduce the likelihood of encountering false‐negatives with this amendment and to increase the value of the whole‐sediment TIE bioassay. To do this, the present study evaluated the effects of various activated carbon additions to survival, growth, emergence, and mean development rate of Chironomus tepperi. Using this information, an alternative method for this amendment was developed which utilized a combination of multiple amendment addition ratios based on wet weight (1%, lower likelihood of the secondary amendment effect; 5%, higher reduction of contaminant) and nonconventional endpoints (emergence, mean development rate). This alternative method was then validated in the laboratory (using spiked sediments) and with contaminated field sediments. Using these multiple activated carbon ratios in combination with additional endpoints (namely, emergence) reduced the likelihood of all 3 types of false‐negatives and provided a more sensitive evaluation of risk. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:1219–1230. © 2017 SETAC