Publications

Advancing soil ecological risk assessments for petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils in Canada: Persistence, organic carbon normalization and relevance of species assemblages

Sediment toxicity studies and ecological risk assessments on organic contaminantsroutinely apply organic carbon normalization to toxicity data; however, no studies examine its potential for use in soils with petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) contamination. Limited studies in soil ecotoxicology assess the influence of species assemblages used in species sensitivity distribution construction on the resulting guideline designated to of soil dwelling organisms. Canadian regulations utilize more conservative approaches to deriving guidelines with soil ecotoxicology data compared to the rest of the world, so we investigated the impact of these on soil invertebrates in a variety of field soils. In addition to toxicity, the persistence of a medium PHC mixture was also assessed in the field soils to determine the duration of toxic effects. We found organic matter influenced PHC toxicity to soil invertebrates, but persistence was influenced more by soil cation exchange capacity. Incorporating organic carbon normalization into species sensitivity distribution curves provided a higher level of protection to soil dwelling receptors in low organic matter soils as well as reduce the variability of PHC soil toxicity data. Soil remediation guidelines derived for protection of soil dwelling organisms using a diverse species assemblage provided similar levels of protection as guidelines developed with test species specific for remote, forested land uses in Canada. We conclude that: (i) Canadian hazard concentration values for PHC contamination of soils should be revisited as they may not be protective and (ii) that soil PHC guidelines for protection of soil dwelling organisms should be expressed as carbon normalized values.

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Lead exposure through consumption of small game harvested using lead-based ammunition and the corresponding health risks to First Nations in Alberta, Canada

The harvesting of game birds, such as grouse, with small arms using lead ammunition continues to be common practice in Alberta, Canada. Grouse are routinely consumed as a subsistence traditional food by First Nations in Alberta and the use of lead ammunition increases the potential lead exposure through the consumption of residual bullet or shot fragments in the edible portion of the meat. After removal of visible shot and ammunition fragments, similar to how the samples would be prepared for consumption, impacted and non-impacted grouse breast meat samples were analyzed to characterize the lead content. Using publicly available consumption rates, the potential lead exposures from consumption of both impacted and non-impacted grouse breast meat were estimated and the corresponding health risks were predicted. Comparison of the predicted health risks revealed a significantly higher risk (p< 0.05) for the consumption of ammunition-impacted meat.

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Whole fish vs. fish fillet—The risk implications for First Nation subsistence consumers

Consumption advisories associated with mercury concentrations are typically based on consumption of fish fillets; however, many First Nation community members consume more than just the fish fillet because of both preference and availability. Food frequency questionnaires were completed by 106 community members to identify which parts of the fish were typically and preferentially consumed. The results of the questionnaires showed that, depending on the species of fish, between 20% and 100% of the respondents ate more than just the fish fillet. Two northern Alberta First Nations harvested 73 piscivorous fish as part of separate studies investigating fish quality. Fillets and whole fish from two species, northern pike (Esox lucius) and walleye (also known as pickerel; Sander vitreus), were analyzed for mercury concentrations. Measured mercury concentrations in whole fish were significantly lower than in fillets (p < 0.05 in all cases). This paper investigates the implications of fish consumption advisories for First Nation communities where many subsistence consumers eat more than just the fish fillet. Consideration of traditional consumption practices may result in a more accurate assessment of exposure for the development of fish consumption guidelines.

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Cadmium Tissue Concentrations in Kidney, Liver and Muscle in Moose (Alces alces) From First Nations Communities in Northern Alberta

The consumption of traditional foods, including moose, is vitally important to Canada’s indigenous communities for dietary, social, and cultural reasons. Cadmium is a key contaminant of concern in moose as it accumulates primarily the organs, with the kidney accumulating more than the liver. The objectives of this study were to identify relationships between cadmium concentrations in the kidney, liver and muscle tissue of moose, and to estimate benchmark consumption quantities that are associated with minimal health risk for three First Nation communities: the Chipewyan Prairie Déné First Nation, the Swan River First Nation and Cold Lake First Nations. Moose quality studies were conducted with the Chipewyan Prairie Déné First Nation in 2012, the Swan River First Nation in 2014 and the Cold Lake First Nations in 2016, all located in Alberta, Canada. The measured cadmium tissue concentrations from these studies were found to be comparable to those reported in the 2016 Alberta First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study, and other North American studies. The results of our study suggest that linear relationships exist between cadmium concentrations in kidney and liver tissue, which can be used as a tool to predict organ concentrations in moose from northern Alberta. First Nations communities can use this information to predict cadmium tissue concentrations in both kidney and liver in the absence of actual, measured cadmium concentrations. Benchmark consumption quantities that are associated with minimal risk were estimated for the different tissue types.

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Deriving a water quality guideline for protection of aquatic communities exposed to triclosan in the canadian environment

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical used in a variety of consumer products, including soaps, detergents, moisturizers, and cosmetics. Aquatic ecosystems may be exposed to triclosan following the release of remaining residues in wastewater effluents and biosolids. In December 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) released a federal environmental quality guideline (FEQG) report that contained a federal water quality guideline (FWQG) for triclosan. This guideline will be used as an adjunct to the risk assessment and risk management of priority chemicals identified under the Government of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The FWQG value for triclosan (0.47 μg/L) was derived by ECCC using a hazardous concentration for 5% of species (HC5) from a species sensitivity distribution (SSD). We recalculated the FWQG after performing an independent analysis and evaluation of the available aquatic toxicity data for triclosan and compared our results with the ECCC FWQG value. Our independent analysis of the available aquatic toxicity data entailed conducting a literature search of all available and relevant studies, evaluating the quality and reliability of all studies considered using thorough and consistent study evaluation criteria, and thereby generating a data set of high‐quality toxicity values. The selected data set includes 22 species spanning 5 taxonomic groups. An SSD was developed using this data set following the ECCC approaches. The HC5 from the SSD derived based on our validated data set is 0.76 μg/L. This HC5 value is slightly greater (i.e., less sensitive) than the value presented in ECCC’s final FWQG. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2018;00:000–000. © 2018 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

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Ecological Risk Assessment of the Uses of the Organophosphorus Insecticide Chlorpyrifos in the United States

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Refined avian risk assessment for chlorpyrifos in the United States. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

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Health Impact Assessment of transportation projects, plans and policies: A scoping review

Dr. Faiza Waheed article on ‘Health Impact Assessment of transportation projects, plans and policies: A scoping review’ has been published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

Highlights

• Transportation HIA practice varies widely with some core similarities.
• NGO funding of transportation HIAs in the US provided a significant boost to practice.
• A positive association exists between transport planner involvement and impact of HIA.
• Very few HIAs conduct evaluation of the HIA process and its effectiveness.
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A weight-of-evidence approach for deriving a level of concern for atrazine that is protective of aquatic plant communities

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Geosmin in lake water may be the cause of unpalatable fish

Ms. Claire McAuley’s article can be viewed in the February 2018 edition on pages 66-69 of the Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine.

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