Assessment criteria for contaminants in biota


Metals

Two assessment criteria are used to assess the status of metal concentrations: the

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • European Commission food standard (EC)

BACs were developed within the Oslo and Paris Commission framework with scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Mean concentrations significantly below the BAC are said to be near background.

ECs are used in the absence of any satisfactory criteria for assessing the ecological significance of metal concentrations. ECs are the maximum acceptable concentrations in food for the protection of public health.

BACs and ECs are available for the following metals


BAC EC
mussels oysters   fish   all species
Cadmium   960 3000 26 1000
Copper 6000 6000
Mercury     90   180 35   500
Lead 1300 1300 26 1500
Zinc 63000   63000  


Notes:

  • BAC units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw for mussels and oysters and \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) ww for fish
  • EC units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) ww
  • cadmium and liver are monitored in fish liver for which no food standard exists; concentrations in fish liver are naturally higher than in fish muscle, so the food standards for fish muscle are not used; instead the food standards for shellfish are used as a proxy
  • BACs and EACs are converted to other bases (wet, dry or lipid weight) using species-specific conversion factors


PAHs

Two assessment criteria are used to assess the status of PAH concentrations: the

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Environmental Assessment Criteria (EAC)

The assessment criteria were developed within the Oslo and Paris Commission framework with scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Mean concentrations significantly below the BAC are said to be near background. Concentrations below the EAC should not cause any chronic effects on marine organisms.

BACs and EACs are available for the following PAHs in mussels and oysters


BAC EAC
Naphthalene  340
Phenanthrene 11.0  1700 
Anthracene  290
Fluoranthene 12.2   110
Pyrene  9.0  100
Benz[a]anthracene  2.5    80
Chrysene (Triphenylene)  8.1
Benzo[a]pyrene  1.4  600
Benzo[ghi]perylene  2.5  110
Indeno[123-cd]pyrene  2.4


Notes:

  • units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw
  • BACs and EACs are converted to other bases (wet, dry or lipid weight) using species-specific conversion factors
  • PAHs are not routinely monitored in fish, so no BACs and EACs for fish have been derived


Chlorobiphenyls

Two assessment criteria are used to assess the status of chlorobiphenyl concentrations: the

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Environmental Assessment Criteria (EAC)

The assessment criteria were developed within the Oslo and Paris Commission framework with scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Mean concentrations significantly below the BAC are said to be near background. Concentrations below the EAC should not cause any chronic effects on marine organisms.

BACs and EACs are available for the following chlorobiphenyls


BAC EAC
mussels and oysters fish all species
CB28 0.75 0.10   67
CB52 0.75 0.08 108
CB101 0.70 0.08 121
CB105 0.75 0.08
CB118 0.60 0.10   25
CB138 0.60 0.09 317
CB153 0.60 0.10 1585  
CB156 0.60 0.08
CB180 0.60 0.11 469


Notes:

  • BAC units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw for mussels and oysters and \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) ww for fish
  • EAC units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) lw
  • BACs and EACs are converted to other bases (wet, dry or lipid weight) using species-specific conversion factors
  • the EACs are based on partitioning theory and are sometimes known as EAC\(^{\text{passive}}\)


Organo-bromines

No assessment criteria have yet been agreed.


Organo-metals

Two assessment criteria are used to assess the status of organo-metal concentrations: the

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Environmental Assessment Criteria (EAC)

The assessment criteria were developed within the Oslo and Paris Commission framework with scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Mean concentrations significantly below the BAC are said to be near background. Concentrations below the EAC should not cause any chronic effects on marine organisms.

BACs and EACs are available for the following organo-metals


mussels and oysters fish
BAC EAC BAC EAC
Tributyltin 5.0 12.0


Notes:

  • units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw
  • BACs and EACs are converted to other bases (wet, dry or lipid weight) using species-specific conversion factors
  • BACs and EACs have not yet been developed for fish


Pesticides

Two assessment criteria are used to assess the status of organo-metal concentrations: the

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Environmental Assessment Criteria (EAC)

The assessment criteria were developed within the Oslo and Paris Commission framework with scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Mean concentrations significantly below the BAC are said to be near background. Concentrations below the EAC should not cause any chronic effects on marine organisms.

BACs and EACs are available for the following pesticides


mussels and oysters fish
BAC EAC BAC EAC
DDE (p,p’) 0.63 0.10
Hexachlorobenzene 0.63   0.09
\(\alpha\)-HCH 0.64  
\(\gamma\)-HCH 0.97 1.45 11


Notes:

  • units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw for mussels and oysters and \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) ww for fish
  • BACs and EACs are converted to other bases (wet, dry or lipid weight) using species-specific conversion factors
  • \(\gamma\)-HCH is monitored in fish liver and the EAC is obtained by multiplying the EAC for whole fish by 10


Dioxins

No assessment criteria have yet been agreed.


Furans

No assessment criteria have yet been agreed.


Persistent organic pollutants

No assessment criteria have yet been agreed.