Use of Tenax extractable concentrations to estimate biological exposure to hydrophobic organic contaminants is well documented, yet method variation exists between studies, specifically in the ratio of Tenax mass to organic carbon mass in the sediment (Tenax:OC ratio) being extracted. The effects of this variation on exposure estimates are not well understood. As Tenax is theoretically in direct competition with organic carbon for freely dissolved chemical in sediment interstitial water, varying the Tenax:OC ratio could impact single-point Tenax extraction (SPTE) exposure estimates. Therefore, the effects of varying Tenax:OC ratios on SPTE pyrethroid concentrations from field-contaminated and laboratory-spiked sediments were compared to bioaccumulation by Lumbriculus variegatus. The Tenax:OC ratio had minimal effect on SPTE pyrethroid concentrations. The SPTE pyrethroid concentrations obtained using the highest and lowest Tenax:OC ratios ranged from 0.85- to 3.91-fold different, which is unlikely to contribute substantial error to bioaccessibility estimates. Comparisons to Tenax exposure endpoints from previous research reveal the variation in these endpoints is likely due to toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic differences; processes common to exposure estimates provided by any chemical extraction technique. As the pyrethroid concentrations in the experimental sediments caused toxicity to L. variegatus, thus affecting bioaccumulation, the SPTE concentrations overestimated bioaccumulation. However, SPTE concentrations strongly correlated with growth inhibition regardless of the Tenax:OC ratio, providing accurate estimates of the correct exposure endpoint. Tenax masses of 0.500–0.800 g should provide sufficient Tenax to achieve Tenax:OC ratios of at least 5:1, which will provide accurate exposure estimates while retaining the ease of conducting SPTEs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis