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Bates H.K.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera
Metal Finishing | Year: 2010

Several countries and jurisdictions have established specific regulatory requirements for hazard communication relating to the handling, use and presence of chemicals in the workplace. These occupational exposure limits (OELs) apply to a typical worker whose shift operates eight hours per day, five days per week. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) regularly updates its threshold limit values (TLVs) for numerous substances, including nickel. The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) is responsible for recommending workplace exposure standards, as well as attending to other health and environmental matters, including those that may pertain to nickel. The OELs for non-federal employees can vary from province to province. The Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) is reviewing a proposed OEL for nickel and nickel compounds of 0.01 mg/m3 as a TWAEV. Source


DeForest D.K.,Windward | Schlekat C.E.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera | Brix K.V.,University of Miami | Fairbrother A.,Exponent, Inc.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2012

The European Union's Existing Substances regulation (EEC 793/93) was developed to assess the ecological risks posed by chemical substances such as Ni and includes the assessment of secondary poisoning risks. The basic structure of this secondary poisoning risk assessment followed the Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment and thus included development of predicted exposure concentrations (PECs) and predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs). A PEC to PNEC ratio greater than 1.0 is indicative of potential risk. The Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment provides a generic framework for assessing secondary poisoning risks and prescribes the following terrestrial food chain: soil → earthworm → worm-eating bird or mammal. This secondary poisoning evaluation was conducted at the regional level, and it was found that the generic approach resulted in widespread estimates of potential risk, even at ambient Ni soil concentrations. Accordingly, a tiered approach was used with increasing levels of refinement, including consideration of bioavailability, consideration of a variable diet, and development of dose-based PNEC values. Based on the refined approach, all PEC to PNEC ratios were less than 1.0, except for a ratio of 1.4 in a scenario focused on a regional clay soil, which was of natural origin. This regional-level secondary poisoning evaluation highlighted key risk assessment components that should be considered in future localized secondary poisoning assessments of Ni and other metals, including ingestion rate to body weight ratios for the test organisms used to derive PNECs versus the representative wildlife species evaluated, the appropriateness of high assessment factors for deriving PNECs for naturally occurring essential elements, representative dietary compositions, relative metal bioavailability between the dietary toxicity study and natural diets, and ground-truthing of the risk predictions versus background concentrations. © 2011 SETAC. Source


Sample B.E.,Ecological Risk | Schlekat C.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera | Spurgeon D.J.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | Rauscher J.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Adams B.,Rio Tinto Alcan
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2014

An integral component in the development of media-specific values for the ecological risk assessment of chemicals is the derivation of safe levels of exposure for wildlife. Although the derivation and subsequent application of these values can be used for screening purposes, there is a need to identify the threshold for effects when making remedial decisions during site-specific assessments. Methods for evaluation of wildlife exposure are included in the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) ecological soil screening levels (Eco-SSLs), registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals (REACH), and other risk-based soil assessment approaches. The goal of these approaches is to ensure that soil-associated contaminants do not pose a risk to wildlife that directly ingest soil, or to species that may be exposed to contaminants that persist in the food chain. These approaches incorporate broad assumptions in the exposure and effects assessments and in the risk characterization process. Consequently, thresholds for concluding risk are frequently very low with conclusions of risk possible when soil metal concentrations fall in the range of natural background. A workshop held in September, 2012 evaluated existing methods and explored recent science about factors to consider when establishing appropriate remedial goals for concentrations of metals in soils. A Foodweb Exposure Workgroup was organized to evaluate methods for quantifying exposure of wildlife to soil-associated metals through soil and food consumption and to provide recommendations for the development of ecological soil cleanup values (Eco-SCVs) that are both practical and scientifically defensible. The specific goals of this article are to review the current practices for quantifying exposure of wildlife to soil-associated contaminants via bioaccumulation and trophic transfer, to identify potential opportunities for refining and improving these exposure estimates, and finally, to make recommendations for application of these improved models to the development of site-specific remedial goals protective of wildlife. Although the focus is on metals contamination, many of the methods and tools discussed are also applicable to organic contaminants. The conclusion of this workgroup was that existing exposure estimation models are generally appropriate when fully expanded and that methods are generally available to develop more robust site-specific exposure estimates. Improved realism in site-specific wildlife Eco-SCVs could be achieved by obtaining more realistic estimates for diet composition, bioaccumulation, bioavailability and/or bioaccessibility, soil ingestion, spatial aspects of exposure, and target organ exposure. These components of wildlife exposure estimation should be developed on a site-, species-, and analyte-specific basis to the extent that the expense for their derivation is justified by the value they add to Eco-SCV development. © 2013 SETAC. Source


Costello D.M.,University of Michigan | Burton G.A.,University of Michigan | Hammerschmidt C.R.,Wright State University | Rogevich E.C.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera | Schlekat C.E.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

The pool of bioavailable metal in sediments can be much smaller than total metal concentration due to complexation and precipitation with ligands. Metal bioavailability and toxicity in sediment is often predicted from models of simultaneous extracted metal and acid volatile sulfide (SEM-AVS); however, studies of the applicability of these models for Ni-contaminated sediments have been conducted primarily in laboratory settings. We investigated the utility of the SEM-AVS models under field conditions: Five lotic sediments with a range of sulfide and organic carbon contents were amended with four concentrations of Ni, deployed in streams for eight weeks, and examined for colonizing macroinvertebrates. After four weeks, colonizing macroinvertebrates showed a strong negative response to the Ni-treated sediments and SEM-AVS models of bioavailability differentiated between toxic and nontoxic conditions. By Week 8, relationships deteriorated between colonizing macroinvertebrates and SEM-AVS model predictions. Total Ni in the sediment did not change through time; however, Ni partitioning shifted from being dominated by organic cabon at deployment to associations with Fe and Mn. Combined geochemical and toxicity results suggest that Fe and Mn oxides in surface sediments resulted in Ni being less available to biota. This implies that current SEM-AVS models may overestimate bioavailable Ni in sediments with oxic surface layers and sufficient Fe and Mn. © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source


Chandler G.T.,University of South Carolina | Schlekat C.E.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera | Garman E.R.,Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association Nipera | He L.,University of South Carolina | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2014

Robust sediment quality criteria require chemistry and toxicity data predictive of concentrations where population/community response should occur under known geochemical conditions. Understanding kinetic and geochemical effects on toxicant bioavailability is key, and these are influenced by infaunal sediment bioturbation. This study used fine-scale sediment and porewater measurement of contrasting infaunal effects on carbon-normalized SEM-AVS to evaluate safe or potentially toxic nickel concentrations in a high-binding Spartina saltmarsh sediment (4%TOC; 35-45 μmol-S2-·g-1). Two crustaceans producing sharply contrasting bioturbation - the copepod Amphiascus tenuiremis and amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus - were cultured in oxic to anoxic sediments with SEM[Ni]-AVS, TOC, porewater [Ni], and porewater DOC measured weekly. From 180 to 750 μg-Ni·g-1 sediment, amphipod bioturbation reduced [AVS] and enhanced porewater [Ni]. Significant amphipod uptake, mortality, and growth-depression occurred at the higher sediment [Ni] even when [SEM-AVS]/foc suggested acceptable risk. Less bioturbative copepods produced higher AVS and porewater DOC but exhibited net population growth despite porewater [Ni] 1.3-1.7× their aqueous [Ni] LOEC. Copepod aqueous tests with/without dissolved organic matter showed significant aqueous DOC protection, which suggests porewater DOC attenuates sediment Ni toxicity. The SEM[Ni]-AVS relationship was predictive of acceptable risk for copepods at the important population-growth level. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

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