Ecotox of Whole Petroleum Hydrocarbon Products

Turlough F. Guerin turlough.guerin at bigpond.com
Fri Jun 9 10:17:44 EST 2000

Dear Toxicol List:

At the current time our understanding of the ecotoxicity of petroleum
hydrocarbons (PHCs) at contaminated sites (in groundwater and soils),is
supported (or limited, depending on how you look at it) by the separation
method of the TPHCWG which depends on knowledge of particular fractions
which, have similar phys/chem properties. These fractions are then
correlated with particular toxicological properties. An underlying
assumption is that the fractionation approach allows for quantification of
the toxic chemical components.

My query is: With this context, what approaches, other than for specific
individual compounds such as BTEX, are available or are being developed to
quantify ecological risks posed by whole petroleum products (fresh or
weathered) such as diesel, lube & hydraulic oils, and heavy fuel oil?

I raise the question after considering the following:

- examining TPH GC-FID chromatograms with large proportions of the total
area peak area as unresolved complex materials (UCM) of which little is
understood of the chemistry, let alone toxicity,
- being aware (from literature, regulators and others) of the highly toxic
characteristics of certain (low concentration) N,S,& O containing compounds
in some petroleum products and,
- knowing that there must be people or groups out there who are pushing
their knowledge of PHC ecotoxicology beyond the current TPHCWG model and
attempting to put this knowledge into their ecological risk assessments.

I look forward to your views and suggestions on this and any thoughts on the
validity or utility of any given approach that you propose, or have
developed, or are using.

Kind regards,





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