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Prioritization of contaminants and biological process targets in the North Sea using toxicity data from ToxCast
Barbosa, J.; De Schamphelaere, K.; Janssen, C.; Asselman, J. (2021). Prioritization of contaminants and biological process targets in the North Sea using toxicity data from ToxCast. Sci. Total Environ. 758: 144157.
In: Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0048-9697; e-ISSN 1879-1026, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    North Sea; Chemical pollution; ToxCast; Prioritization strategy

Authors  Top 
  • Barbosa, J., more
  • De Schamphelaere, K., more
  • Janssen, C., more
  • Asselman, J., more

    The increasing number of chemicals detected in the marine environment underlines the need for appropriate prioritization strategies prior to further testing and potential inclusion into monitoring programs. Here, a prioritization strategy is proposed for chemicals detected in the North Sea over the last decade, through the development of a Concern Index (CI) using exposure and toxicity data obtained from peer-review publications and the ToxCast database, respectively. A total of 158 chemicals were ranked and the most sensitive tested assay endpoints were identified. Additionally, similar analysis was performed for the classes of chemicals and Biological Process Targets (BPTs). By first ranking chemicals currently acknowledged for their high toxicity to the aquatic environment, i.e. naphthalene, salicylic acid and simazine, the obtained results not only reinforce the risk posed by these but also promote a confident extrapolation from mammalian in vitro toxicity data to fish. Furthermore, genes targeted by the most sensitive assays, related to basic cell maintenance processes and immune defense, are highly evolutionarily conserved across species. The identification of these assays further reinforces the importance of a shift from traditional toxicity endpoints to lower levels of biological organization, allowing the detection of adverse effects at lower concentrations.

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