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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications BIOAVAILABILITY OF CONTAMINANTS IN SOILS AND SEDIMENTS PROCESSES, TOOLS, AND APPLICATIONS Committee on Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 5th St., N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-FC01-99EW59049, the U.S. Department of Defense under Purchase Order No. DASW01-00-P-3588, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force under Purchase Order No. DAAD05-00-P-7387, the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program under Contract No. DACA72-99-P-0210, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences under Purchase Order No. 273-MH-918344, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry under Contract No. 200-2000-00629, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Grant No. X-82966601, and the Gas Research Institute under Grant No. 8339. International Standard Book Number: 0-309-08625-6 Library of Congress Control Number: 2002117001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet <http://www.nap.edu>. Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications COMMITTEE ON BIOAVAILABILITY OF CONTAMINANTS IN SOILS AND SEDIMENTS RICHARD G. LUTHY, Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman SALLY L. BROWN, University of Washington, Seattle DAVID A. DZOMBAK, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania SCOTT E. FENDORF, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOHN P. GIESY, Michigan State University, Lansing JOSEPH B. HUGHES, Rice University, Houston, Texas SAMUEL N. LUOMA, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California LINDA A. MALONE, College of William & Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, Virginia CHARLES A. MENZIE, Menzie-Cura & Associates, Inc., Chelmsford, Massachusetts STEPHEN M. ROBERTS, University of Florida, Gainesville MICHAEL V. RUBY, Exponent, Boulder, Colorado TERRY W. SCHULTZ, University of Tennessee, Knoxville BARTH F. SMETS, University of Connecticut, Storrs NRC Staff LAURA J. EHLERS, Study Director ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD RICHARD G. LUTHY, Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOAN B. ROSE, Vice Chair, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park KENNETH R. BRADBURY, University of Wisconsin, Madison JAMES CROOK, CH2M Hill, Boston, Massachusetts EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis–St. Paul PETER GLEICK, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, California JOHN LETEY, Jr., University of California, Riverside DIANE M. McKNIGHT, University of Colorado, Boulder CHRISTINE L. MOE, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia ROBERT PERCIASEPE, National Audubon Society, Washington, DC RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, University of Massachusetts, Amherst JERALD L. SCHNOOR, University of Iowa, Iowa City LEONARD SHABMAN, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Staff Officer MARK C. GIBSON, Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate PATRICIA A. JONES KERSHAW, Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant JON Q. SANDERS, Project Assistant
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications This page in the original is blank.
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications Preface Protection of human health and ecosystems is much more challenging today than 33 years ago when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded. Environmental problems in the United States today are diffuse rather than localized, subtle rather than obvious, and involve multiple environmental media (air, water, soil, sediment, and biota) rather than a single medium. Complex environmental questions transcend disciplinary boundaries and involve multiple temporal and spatial scales. Since 1970, advances in analytical measurement techniques have occurred that now allow the detection of more and more chemicals at lower and lower levels. As the new millennium begins, there is a wealth of information about how parts of the environment might function and where chemical contaminants may be found. At the same time it has become all the more difficult to understand what is really important and what should receive highest priority. This is exemplified by our national efforts to assess and manage thousands of acres of contaminated soil and sediment. It is against this backdrop that the National Research Council (NRC) undertook an examination of the bioavailability of contaminants in soils and sediments. Of primary interest is the risk that contaminated soils and sediments pose to humans and ecological receptors, for which estimating exposure is essential for sound decision-making and devising effective solutions. This report focuses on an assessment of those physical, chemical, and biological factors that may make only a fraction of the total contaminant mass in soil and sediment actually available to humans and ecological receptors. A large amount of empirical data suggests that soils and sediments may sequester chemical contaminants and that chemicals in soils and sediments behave differently than when present in water,
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications air, or food. The influences that soils and sediments have on contaminant interactions between phases, the transport of contaminants to organisms, the entry of contaminants into living cells, and contaminant accumulation within organisms and possible toxic effects are referred to herein as “bioavailability processes.” Understanding these processes is central to improving risk assessment, prioritizing among various problems, and using resources to achieve the greatest benefit. While the term “bioavailability” is relatively new, bioavailability as a concept has a long history in toxicology, pharmacology, crop science, and nutritional science. Common to all of these contexts is uptake by living organisms. In contrast, the application of bioavailability process understanding in the environmental arena has occurred much more recently, largely within the last decade, and it involves such contextual issues as solubility, mass transfer, mobility, and reaction in addition to uptake by living organisms. Explicitly assessing contaminant bioavailability is viewed by many as a way to help set contaminated site cleanup goals that are more financially or technically feasible, and that involve leaving appreciable amounts of contaminant mass in place, while still being protective of public health and the environment. Prior to commencing this study, the NRC’s Water Science and Technology Board hosted a one-day workshop in November 1998 to assess the need for a NRC study of bioavailability of contaminants in soils and sediments, attended by approximately 25 key experts. A consensus from the attendees was that there is a growing acceptance of incorporating site-specific bioavailability measurements in site management decisions, but that many of the methods being considered for bioavailability assessment have not been critically reviewed or validated. As a result of the workshop, possible study questions were proposed, a prospectus was drafted and circulated, and project sponsors were identified. The NRC Committee on Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments convened its first meeting in May 2000 and met five additional times over the next two years. The committee’s charge included assessing the application of bioavailability concepts for managing hazardous compounds and guiding risk assessment. The committee sought to put the growing interest in bioavailability into perspective by focusing on building a mechanistic-based understanding of bioavailability processes. The primary goal was to define the scientific understanding needed to advance confidence in use of bioavailability concepts, and to assess the tools needed to characterize and measure bioavailability. The study benefited greatly from contributions of various individuals who made presentations at our meetings, including Fran Kremer, Peter Grevatt, Sarah Levinson, Mark Maddaloni, Elmer Akin, Mark Johnson, Chris Weis, and Mary Reiley, all from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Brad Smith and Cathy Vogel, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program; Beth Anderson, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Michael Major, U.S. Army; Doris Anders, U.S. Air Force; Sharon Williams-Fleetwood, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Chet Miller, Department of Energy;
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications Greg Planicka, National Environmental Policy Institute; Teresa Bernhard, Naval Engineering Field Activity Chesapeake; Steve McGrath, IACR-Rothamsted; Monty Elder, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; Todd Bridges and Jeff Steevens, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Al Page, University of California at Riverside; Larry Goldstein, Electric Power Research Institute; Hans Stroo, ThermoRetec; Ron Jensen, Southern California Edison; Roman Lanno, Oklahoma State University; and Diane Henshel, Indiana University. The study would not have been possible without the very capable management and excellent guidance provided by Laura Ehlers of the WSTB. She served as the study director and organized meetings, kept us on track from meeting to meeting, provided important reminders about discussion points, and helped identify places where the committee seemed to be stalled and suggested possible paths forward. She synthesized and edited the final report and was always our tireless cheerleader. Anike Johnson took care of the many mailings and made local meeting arrangements. More formally, the report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The reviews and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Graeme Batley, CSIRO Energy Technology; G. Allen Burton, Wright State University; Kim F. Hayes, University of Michigan; Michael J. McLaughlin, CSIRO Land and Water; Aaron L. Mills, University of Virginia; Joseph J. Pignatello, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; Rosalind A. Schoof, Gradient Corporation; and Eric H. Weyand, Rutgers University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Bruce E. Rittmann, Northwestern University. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. Richard G. Luthy, Chair
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 20 Bioavailability Processes For Contaminants in Soils and Sediments, 21 Historical Perspective, 27 Implications of Bioavailability Processes, 40 Task Statement and Report Roadmap, 43 References, 46 2 CURRENT USE OF BIOAVAILABILITY IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CONTAMINATED SOIL AND SEDIMENT 52 Use of Bioavailability in Risk Assessment, 54 Legal and Regulatory Framework, 85 Conclusions and Recommendations, 111 References, 112 3 PROCESSES 119 Solids Present in Natural Environments, 121 Contaminants, 132 Contaminant–Solid Interactions, 136 Contaminant Transport, 159 Contact and Entry, 167 Accumulation and Effects, 183 Higher Order Processes, 191
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Bioavailability of Contaminants in Soils and Sediments: Processes, Tools, and Applications Conclusions and Recommendations, 198 References, 200 4 TOOLS 216 Summary Tables, 217 Techniques to Characterize Interactions among Phases, 232 Physical/Chemical Extraction Techniques for Measuring Bioavailability, 246 Biologically Based Techniques for Measuring Bioavailability, 272 Tools for Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment, 312 Conclusions and Recommendations, 324 References, 328 5 MOVING FORWARD WITH BIOAVAILABILITY IN DECISION-MAKING 356 Current Limits of Knowledge, 357 Why These Limitations and Uncertainties Matter, 359 When Will Consideration of Bioavailability Processes Make a Difference, 375 Next Steps, 383 Overarching Conclusions and Recommendations, 401 References, 403 APPENDIXES A ACRONYMS 413 B COMMITTEE MEMBER AND STAFF BIOGRAPHIES 416