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Integrated Fate and Toxicity Assessment for Site Contaminants

[+] Author Affiliations
Margaret McDonell, John Peterson, Molly Finster

Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL

R. Douglas Hildebrand

U.S. Department of Energy, Richland, WA

Paper No. ICEM2007-7323, pp. 1299-1305; 7 pages
  • The 11th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • 11th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B
  • Bruges, Belgium, September 2–6, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4339-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3818-8


Understanding the fate and toxicity of environmental contaminants is essential to framing practical management decisions. Forms and bioavailable concentrations often change over time due to natural physical, chemical, and biological processes. For some sites, hundreds of contaminants may be of initial interest, and even small projects can involve a substantial number of contaminants. With multiple assessments common, attention to effectiveness and efficiency is important, and integrating fate and toxicity information provides a valuable way to focus the analyses. Fate assessments help identify what forms may be present where and when, while toxicity information indicates what health effects could result if people were exposed. The integration process is illustrated by an application for the Hanford site, to support long-term management decisions for the cesium and strontium capsules. Fate data, health-based benchmarks, and related toxicity information were effectively combined to indicate performance targets for chemicals and radionuclides identified for capsule leachate that could migrate to groundwater. More than 50 relevant benchmarks and toxicity context were identified for 15 of the 17 study contaminants; values for chronic drinking water exposure provided the common basis for selected indicators. For two chemicals, toxicity information was identified from the scientific literature to guide the performance targets.



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