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Chemical and ecotoxicological analyses of sediments and elutriates of contaminated rivers due to e-waste recycling activities using a diverse battery of bioassays

Wang, F., Leung, A.O.W., Wu, S.C., Yang, M.S., Wong, M.H.
Environmental pollution 2009 v.157 no.7 pp. 2082-2090
rivers, sediment contamination, toxicity testing, bioassays, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, trophic relationships, bacteria, Crustacea, microalgae, ecotoxicology, China
A multi-trophic, multi-exposure phase assessment approach was applied to characterize the toxicity of sediments collected from two rivers in Guiyu, China, an e-waste recycling centre. Elutriate toxicity tests (bacterium Vibrio fischeri and microalga Selenastrum capricornutum) and whole sediment toxicity test (crustacean Heterocypris incongruens) showed that most sediments exhibited acute toxicity, due to elevated heavy metals and PAHs levels, and low pH caused by uncontrolled acid discharge. The survival rates of crustaceans were negatively (p < 0.05) correlated with total PAHs in sediments (411-1755 mg kg⁻¹); EC50s of V. fischeri on the elutriates were significantly correlated with elutriate pH (p < 0.01). Significant (p < 0.05) correlations between the induction of hepatic metallothionein in tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) and metal concentrations (Cu, Zn, Pb) in sediments were also observed, when fish were fed with diets containing sediment. The results showed that uncontrolled e-waste recycling activities may bring adverse effects to local aquatic ecosystem. Toxicity tests using different trophic organisms provided important information, supplementing chemical analyses.