Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Assessment of the impact of organotin contamination on marine environments

The major contributions, or deliverables, of this project which have potential for being carried forward by partners in this consortium and the scientific community of large are seen as:
an up to date account of the threat of TBT in the European marine environment (particularly sediment-based ecosystems);
a definition both of the routes of TBT accumulation and metabolism in benthic species and of the conditions favouring adsorption desorption, and persistence of TBT in sediments;
an assessment of the success of existing directives on usage of TBT-based antifouling paints and the need for further legislation, particularly in relation to acceptable levels in sediments and biota;
knowledge of factors which modify bioavailability and bioaccumulation (this is relevant to the setting of environmental standards; in some cases they may need to be fitted to the environment in question);
derivation of key parameters such as partition coefficients, half-times, bioconcentration factors and toxicity thresholds. (these determinands will be incorporated into models which predict the fate and consequences of TBT in the marine environment and successful preliminary simulations of the estuarine behaviour of TBT have already been conducted);
the exploitation of predictive indicators of deleterious effects and mechanisms of toxicity, which can be used in the wider context of risk assessment and the development of antifouling programmes in European coastal environments and further afield.

In summary, we have helped to provide a comprehensive picture of the behaviour of one of the most significant of all contaminants entering the marine environment. The results described here should be helpful to the scientific community in predicting the behaviour and impact of other compounds which may pose potential hazards in future. Such an ability to detect and predict deleterious effects and pathways of impact are a major, positive step towards better management of the marine environment and is vital in terms of achieving maximum economic yields (eg in aquaculture) and resulting social benefits. Linking research across a series of different levels (environmental concentration, uptake route, biochemical, morphological and physiological condition) and across a range of European coastal environments, has proved to be a rewarding approach to large scale risk assessment.

Reported by

NERC Centre of Coastal and Marine Sciences
Prospect Place West Hoe
PL1 3DH Plymouth
United Kingdom
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