Predicted no-effect concentrations for mercury species and ecological risk assessment for mercury pollution in aquatic environment

Meng Du , Dongbin Wei , Zhuowei Tan , Aiwu Lin , Yuguo Du


Received February 24, 2014,Revised June 04, 2014, Accepted , Available online February 10, 2015

Volume 27,2015,Pages 74-80

Mercury (Hg) exists in different chemical forms presenting varied toxic potentials. It is necessary to explore an ecological risk assessment method for different mercury species in aquatic environment. The predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs) for Hg(II) and methyl mercury (MeHg) in the aqueous phase, calculated using the species sensitivity distribution method and the assessment factor method, were 0.39 and 6.5 × 10-3 μg/L, respectively. The partition theory of Hg between sediment and aqueous phases was considered, along with PNECs for the aqueous phase to conduct an ecological risk assessment for Hg in the sediment phase. Two case studies, one in China and one in the Western Black Sea, were conducted using these PNECs. The toxicity of mercury is heavily dependent on their forms, and their potential ecological risk should be respectively evaluated on the basis of mercury species.

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