90   Effect of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAH & Polar-PAC) availability on their ecotoxicity towards terrestrial organisms

Aabbar I., Biache C., Cossu-Leguille C., Bojic C., Lorgeoux C., Masfaraud J.-F., Faure P. (2024) Journal of Hazardous Materials, 467, art. no. 133646,   DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2024.133646

ABSTRACT: The exposure of terrestrial organisms to soils freshly contaminated by polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs, including PAHs and polar-PACs) is known to cause significant toxicity effects. However, historically contaminated soils, such as former coking plant soils, usually induce a limited toxic impact, due to the “aging” phenomenon which is the result of several processes causing a reduction of PAC availability over time. For a better understanding of these behaviors, this study aimed to compare the toxic responses of terrestrial organisms exposed to aged contaminated soils and their counterparts submitted to a moderate heating process applied to increase PAC availability. Two aged “raw” soils (limited PAC availability) were selected for their representativeness of former industrial soils in terms of PAC contamination. These soils were submitted either to moderate heating (expected PAC availability increase) or solvent-extraction (expected PAC removal). Physico-chemical parameters, contamination levels and availability were determined for these three soil modalities. Additionally, standardized limit bioassays on plants and earthworms were performed to assess soil ecotoxicity. The findings demonstrated that historically contaminated soils exposed to moderate heating induced the highest ecotoxic responses from terrestrial organisms. Heating increased PAC (bio)availability, without modifying any other soil physico-chemical properties. These results pointed out the importance of considering the contamination availability parameter in risk evaluation and also provide a possible tool for protective long-term risk assessment. 

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