Comparative Toxicity of Two Chemical Dispersants and Dispersed Oil in Estuarine Organisms
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Comparative Toxicity of Two Chemical Dispersants and Dispersed Oil in Estuarine Organisms

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  • Journal Title:
    Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
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    Chemical dispersants can be a useful tool to mitigate oil spills. This study examined potential risks to sensitive estuarine species by comparing the toxicity of two dispersants (Corexit® EC9500A and Finasol® OSR 52) individually and in chemically enhanced water-accommodated fractions (CEWAFs) of Louisiana Sweet Crude oil. Acute toxicity thresholds and sublethal biomarker responses were determined in seven species (sheepshead minnow, grass shrimp, mysid, amphipod, polychaete, hard clam, mud snail). Comparing median lethal (LC50) values for the dispersants, Finasol was generally more toxic than Corexit and had greater sublethal toxicity (impaired embryonic hatching, increased lipid peroxidation, decreased acetylcholinesterase activity). The nominal concentration-based mean LC50 for all species tested with Corexit was 150.31 mg/L compared with 43.27 mg/L with Finasol. Comparing the toxicity of the CEWAFs using the nominal concentrations (% CEWAF), Corexit-CEWAFs appeared more toxic than Finasol-CEWAFs; however, when LC50 values were calculated using measured hydrocarbon concentrations, the Finasol-CEWAFs were more toxic. There was greater dispersion efficiency leading to greater hydrocarbon concentrations measured in the Corexit-CEWAF solutions than in equivalent Finasol-CEWAF solutions. The measured concentration-based mean LC50 values for all species tested with Corexit-CEWAF were 261.96 mg/L total extractable hydrocarbons (TEH) and 2.95 mg/L total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), whereas the mean LC50 values for all species tested with Finasol-CEWAF were 23.19 mg/L TEH and 0.49 mg/L total PAH. Larval life stages were generally more sensitive to dispersants and dispersed oil than adult life stages within a species. These results will help to inform management decisions regarding the use of oil-spill dispersants.
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    Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 74(3), 414-430
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    Accepted Manuscript
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