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Toxicity of marine aerosols


Non-additive effects under combined toxicity of multicomponent systems of marine pollutants regarding ecological hazard of marine aerosols for coastal populations

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Research Center of Toxicology and Hygienic Regulation of Biopreparations, Russia, Moscow reg., Serpukhov

Supporting institutes

  • State Oceanography Institute, Russia, Moscow


  • State University of New York at Stony Brook / Marine Sciences Research Center, USA, NY, Stony Brook\nUMIST / Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Manufacturing Engineering, UK, Manchester\nUniversitat Jaume I / Departament de Ciencies Experimentals, Spain, Castello de la Plana

Project summary

Toxicometric standarts (e.g., threshold limit values – TLV, or seawater pollution index – SPI), developed for single-component systems of toxicants, are often appear to be inadequate to hazardous influence on living organisms, or, conversely, ecological hazard is overpriced. This is caused by non-additive effects under combined influence of toxic substances: the synergetic (when the influence is increasing compared to non-additive ones), or antagonistic (when the influence is decreasing compared to non-additive ones) [1,2]. Registration of the combined influence of toxic compounds could provide more accurate definition of the requirements to the sewage purity as well as correction of the system of hygienic regulation. For example, galvanic enterprises are not able to purify wastewater by the standard ion-exchanging methods to those values of d-element concentration required in accordance with TLV [3]. In this connection the necessity emerges to develop new methods and create databases for registration and evaluation of the combined influence of chemical compounds. At the same time, it is important to study such influence upon both inpidual organisms and human populations as a whole.

The goal of the project is the development of new methods and building of databases for the count and assessment (evaluation) of combined effects of chemical combinations both on separate organisms, and on human populations as a whole.

The results of the project will be used for improvement of ecological situation ensured by scientifically grounded toughening (or weakening) of the system of governmental toxicological control and registration of synergism (antagonism) occurrences under combined toxic effects of chemical compounds, as well as development of the methods to forecast the influence of pollutants (P) on a warm-blooded organism.

The project includes the following tasks:

1. To obtain new results on the mechanisms of combined influence of chemical agents on inpidual organisms in modelled systems;

2. To summarize data on the problem of the combined toxic effect of the compounds upon both inpidual living organisms and biogeocenosis as a whole;

3. To reveal P combinations and development of the methods to forecast their toxic effect on warm-blooded organisms for specific biogeocenosis.

To conduct such investigations we have chosen near-shore regions of St.Petersburg and resort zone of the northern coast of the Finland Gulf. The particular near-shore regions have been chosen by the indicated below reason. The results of the investigations conducted during the latest decades established the importance and evaluated quantitatively the mass transfer of the chemical compounds of the surface layers with micro aerosols. The composition of micro aerosols reflects the composition of the surface film of the offshore waters [4,5]. It is just the surface micro layer (SML) in which both d-element ions, as well as synthetic surface active substances (SSAS), and phenols are concentrating. [4,5]. So, residential population of the coastal regions is getting considerable doses of multicomponent systems of toxic compounds through respiratory tract (in case of virtue value of «volume» water for fishing, bathing, etc.). We are planning to conduct statistic correlation study of the health state of the indicated human populations as well as hydrochemical condition of the coastal waters based on the data obtained by the State Oceanography Institute, as well as the North-Eastern Directorate of Russian Hydrometeorological Service, local health protection services, and sanitation-and-epidemiology service during the latest two decades. Experimental study aimed to detect P in marine-born free air will include:

1. Study of the SML composition;

2. Determination of the toxicity level of marine aerosol aerogenic impact on lab animals in acute and chronic experiments with the use of aerosol chamber installations. SML concentrates (100- and 1,000 fold) will be prepared. Then the samples will be dispersed in aerosol chambers up to 2-5 mm size and their influence in acute and chronic (up to 4 months) experiments on the warm-blooded lab animals will be studied. The impact of toxic factors on the targeted organs of animals will be evaluated by the methods of clinical and laboratory toxicology.

Based on the obtained experimental data as well as medical statistics it is expected to develop the methodology to forecast the hazard of toxicant multicomponent systems' impact on living organisms and humans taking into account non-additive effects under combined toxicity. Additionally, the system for monitoring and forecasting marine aerosol toxicity will be created for residential population of the near-shore recreation zones of the eastern part of the Finland Gulf.

The results of the work will be both revealing of toxic compound combinations hazardous for the population of specific biogeocenosis, and proposed measures for prophylactics and protection against the diseases under study taking into account their ecological aetiology.


1. Yu.A.Ershov, T.V.Pleteneva. Toxicity of non-organic compounds.M., Medicina, 1989.

2. T.K.Slonskaya, T.V.Pleteneva, Yu.A.Ershov. Evaluation of Biological Activity of Toxic Agents in a Unicellular Model. Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, Vol. 123, #5, 1997, 519-526.

3. S.S. Vinogradov. Ecologically safe galvanic production. M., Globus, 1998.

4. Problems of chemical pollution of the world ocean waters. Vol.3. Influence of the surface layer pollution on the heat-, gas-, and moisture exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere.1985.

5. Proceedings of the SOI, issue 182, 1990. Problems of monitoring of the world ocean chemical pollution.


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