Experiments were conducted to test whether passive samplers made of low-density polyethylene (polyethylene devices, or PEDs) can estimate the extent of uptake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by benthic polychaetes (Nereis virens) in contaminated marine sediments. For a variety of PAHs, PEDs reached 90% equilibrium with sediment PAHs in 60 days or less. Using 60-day sediment bioaccumulation tests, we have demonstrated a significant relationship between PAH concentrations in the polychaetes and the PEDs (R2 = 0.67, p = 0.002), with the PEDs taking up less PAHs than the polychaetes. Because of this relationship, PEDs can potentially be used in a regulatory context to simulate uptake of bioavailable PAHs in contaminated marine sediments. The PED PAH concentrations were also used to calculate porewater PAH concentrations that allowed for the estimation of a linear free-energy relationship between the lipid-water distribution coefficient (Klip) and the octanol-water distribution coefficient (KOW) for PAH uptake in marine polychaetes (R2 = 0.94, p < 0.0001).
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