Assessment criteria for contaminants in sediment


Metals

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

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Effects Range Low (ERL)

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.

ERLs were developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for assessing the ecological significance of sediment concentrations. Concentrations below the ERL rarely cause adverse effects in marine organisms.

BACs and ERLs are available for the following metals


BAC BAC ERL
All subregions except
Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz
Iberian Sea
and Gulf of Cadiz
All subregions
Arsenic 25      8.2
Cadmium     0.31     0.129   1.2
Chromium 81    81   
Copper 27    34   
Mercury     0.07     0.091     0.15
Nickel 36    21   
Lead 38    22.4    47   
Zinc 122      150     


Notes:

  • units are mg kg\(^{-1}\) dw
  • BACs are normalised to 5% aluminium in all subregions except the Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz, where BACs are not normalised
  • the ERLs for arsenic and nickel are below the OSPAR Background Concentrations of 15 and 30 mg kg\(^{-1}\) respectively; arsenic and nickel concentrations are only assessed against the BAC
  • the ERL for chromium equals the BAC; nickel concentrations are only assessed against the ERL


PAHs

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

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Effects Range Low (ERL)

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.

ERLs were developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for assessing the ecological significance of sediment concentrations. Concentrations below the ERL rarely cause adverse effects in marine organisms.

BACs and ERLs are available for the following PAHs


BAC BAC ERL
All subregions except
Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz
Iberian Sea
and Gulf of Cadiz
All subregions
Naphthalene    8 160 
Phenanthrene  32  7.3 240 
Anthracene    5  1.8  85
Dibenzothiophene 190 
Fluoranthene  39 14.4  600 
Pyrene  24 11.3  665 
Benz[a]anthracene  16  7.1 261 
Chrysene (Triphenylene)  20  8.0 384 
Benzo[a]pyrene  30  8.2 430 
Benzo[ghi]perylene  80  6.9
Indeno[123-cd]pyrene 103   8.3


Notes:

  • units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw
  • BACs are normalised to 2.5% organic carbon in all subregions except the Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz, where BACs are not normalised


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 BAC EAC
All subregions except
Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz
Iberian Sea
and Gulf of Cadiz
All subregions
CB28 0.22   1.7
CB52 0.12   2.7
CB101 0.14   3.0
CB118 0.17   0.6
CB138 0.15   7.9
CB153 0.19 40   
CB180 0.10 12   


Notes:

  • units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw
  • BACs are normalised to 2.5% organic carbon
  • BACs are under development for the Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz, where concentrations are only assessed against the EAC


Organo-bromines

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

  • Background Assessment Concentration (BAC)
  • Federal Environmental Quality Guideline (FEQG)

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.

FEQGs were developed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Concentrations below the FEQG should not cause any chronic effects on marine organisms.

The BACs and FEQGs are currently being used on a trial basis following deliberations at OSPAR MIME 2017.

BACs and FEQGs are available for the following organo-bromines


BAC FEQG
BDE28   110
BDE47 0.04       97.5
BDE66       97.5
BDE85       1
BDE99       1
BD100       1
BD153 1100
BD154 1100
BD183 14000  
BD209       47.5


Notes:

  • units are \(\mu\)g kg\(^{-1}\) dw
  • BACs and FEQGs are normalised to 2.5% organic carbon and are applied in all subregions (including the Iberian Sea and Gulf of Cadiz, where time series are assessed using non-normalised concentrations).


Organo-metals

No assessment criteria have yet been agreed.