Auteurs : J.-C. Amiard, A. Geffard, C. Amiard-Triquet, C. Crouzet

The present study has investigated metal contamination at nine sites (10 sampling stations) from the English Channel to the Mediterranean Sea, including low level and highly contaminated sediments. Both total and labile concentrations of metals were determined in superficial sediments. The influence of different pHs was tested and metal lability at pHs encountered in the gut of invertebrates (the ragworm Nereis diversicolor, the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, the Japanese oyster Crassostrea gigas) was compared with the distribution of metals in various operationally defined geochemical fractions. Cd showed the highest lability and Cu the lowest, whereas Zn lability was intermediate. Metal concentrations were determined in bivalves at six sites and in worms at three sites. Cd in living organisms and labile Cd in sediments increased in proportion over the gradient of contamination. This relationship did not always hold for Cu and Zn and these exceptions are discussed. Even if sediments are not the only source of metal contamination in marine invertebrates, the procedure proposed here to assess metal bioavailability by remobilising sediment-bound metals at physiological pHs, seems a significant improvement of the existing methodologies of risk assessment.

2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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