Ecological risk assessments based on chemical residue analysis and species demographics tend to ignore the bioavailability and bioaccumulation of the chemicals of concern. This study describes the incorporation of mechanistically based biomarkers into an ecological risk assessment of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-contaminated site. A combination of soil residue analysis, tissue residue analysis, biomarkers in on-site trapped animals and biomarkers in animals confined to enclosures was used. In particular, the use of captured deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) for these studies is compared to the use of laboratory-raised deer mice placed in enclosures. This study indicates that the higher degree of variability in the responses of wild deer mice make the use of enclosure studies advantageous. Positive control studies performed by dosing laboratory-raised deer mice with the same PAHs as found on the site were used to validate this approach. These studies indicate that immune suppression occurred at PAH concentrations an order of magnitude below those required for the induction of ethoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase activity.
- Cytochrome P450 induction
- Ecological risk assessment
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons