Superfund Research Program
Developing and Evaluating Technology to Measure PAH Fate and Exposures
Project Leader: Kim A. Anderson
Grant Number: P42ES016465
Funding Period: 2009-2025
In 2015, chemical mixtures were collected from multiple Superfund sites (Portland Harbor Mega Superfund (PHMS), Oregon's McCormick and Baxter Superfund (McC&B) sites); the Willamette River; and, along with two tribal partners, at sites in northern Washington. The research team, led by Kim Anderson, Ph.D., has demonstrated a sediment porewater passive sampler (PS) originally demonstrated at Lower Duwamish Superfund a few years ago; from those studies, two subsequent versions were developed. Version3 of the sediment porewater PS was used by the team for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the status of remediation at the Oregon McC&B site. The researchers also used the porewater sampler to assess contaminants in the Willamette River and PHMS sites. The researchers identify the risk drivers of developmental toxicity in PS extracts from PHMS. By integrating passive sampling, effects-directed analysis, and the embryonic zebrafish assay, the researchers empirically demonstrate the contribution of PAHs to the teratogenicity of the samples and identified other toxic components. They applied this combination of compatible tools to chemically distinct sites inside and out of the PHMS, evaluating the contribution of segregated chemicals to whole sample toxicity and exploring potential interactions. This work advances methods to identify toxicants using valuable biological endpoints and deconstructs the developmental toxicology of PAHs in complex mixtures. PS extracts and real-world mixtures were exposed to terrestrially relevant UV. Precursor and transformation of PAHs were determined. The researchers paired PS with resident organisms at PHMS. The research team was able to predict crayfish PAH concentrations from a simply linear model based on PS concentrations.