Towards integrating toxicity characterization into environmental studies: case study of bromine in soils
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Pollution from bromine and some of its related compounds is currently unregulated in soil from Russia and other countries, and tools for sound assessment of environmental impacts of bromine contamination are largely missing. Hence, assessing potential implications for humans and ecosystems of bromine soil contamination is urgently needed, which requires the combination of measured soil concentrations from environmental studies and quantified potential toxicity impacts. To address this need, we used data from an experimental study assessing bromine in soils (384 samples) of Tomsk oblast, Russia, starting from measured concentrations obtained by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis in an earlier study. From these data, we calculated the bromine mass in soils and used these as starting point to characterize related cumulative impacts on human health and ecosystems in the Tomsk region, using a global scientific consensus model for screening-level comparative toxicity characterization of chemical emissions. Results show that the combination of sampling methodology with toxicity characterization techniques presents a new approach to be used in environmental studies aimed at environmental assessment and analysis of a territory. Our results indicate that it is important to account for substance-specific chemical reaction pathways and transfer processes, as well as to consider region-specific environmental characteristics. Our approach will help complement environmental assessment results with environmental sustainability elements, to consider potential tradeoffs in impacts, related to soil pollution, in support of improved emission and pollution reduction strategies.