Sub-Task 2E:  Studies to Support a Human Health Risk Assessment

This sub-task consists of several introductory studies that help assess the risks to human health from toxics.  First, we will integrate the available Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program (PSAMP) concentration data of toxic chemicals in biota for contaminants of human health concern with similar biota data from other projects. We will stratify the integrated data on smaller geographic scales to discern contaminant distribution patterns and evaluate the patterns of detection for contaminants with lower frequencies of detection, as these may identify unique contaminant sources.

We will examine the fact that although PSAMP has not detected many contaminants in biota samples, contaminants may be present at concentrations less than the reporting limits (RLs).  We will review the RLs of the analytical methods used to generate Puget Sound biota data for their adequacy in assessing human health risks.  This review will involve comparison of RLs with risk-based concentrations based on a range of seafood consumption rates for the seafood consuming populations (e.g., Tribes, Asian Pacific Islanders) within the Puget Sound Region.  Inadequate detection limits will indicate the possible need for further sampling and analyses.

This sub-task will also develop a sampling and analysis plan to quantify chemical contaminant levels in Puget Sound shellfish.  This plan will identify the species and contaminants to be analyzed.  Analytical method RLs will be sufficient to detect contaminants at levels of concern to human health.  The plan will address the different locations of high quality shellfish beds, populations consuming shellfish, commercial shellfish fisheries, patterns of sediment contamination, and contaminant sources.

Lastly, this sub-task will develop a proposal for evaluating the risks posed by personal care products and pharmaceuticals in Puget Sound.  This proposal will identify chemicals of concern, levels of contaminants posing risk, locations for analysis, and analytical methods.

The US EPA Region 10 will oversee this sub-task.

For more information, contact Lon Kissinger at 206-553-2115.