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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Research Projects - Emerging Contaminants

Contaminant Uptake by Earthworms

An example of earthworms found during the sifting process. Because earthworms continuously ingest soils, they could possibly serve as a sentinel species that would be indicative of the biological uptake of emerging contaminants.
An example of earthworms found during the sifting process. Because earthworms continuously ingest soils, they could possibly serve as a sentinel species that would be indicative of the biological uptake of emerging contaminants.
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The land application of human (e.g. biosolids, biosolids-derived compost, etc.) and animal (e.g. Animal Feeding Operations) waste may be important pathways for emerging contaminant uptake by soil fauna (e.g. earthworms, etc.) and ultimately the food chain. An initial experiment to determine the ability of earthworms to accumulate emerging contaminants under controlled conditions was undertaken in 2004. Preliminary results of ongoing research suggests emerging contaminants can accumulate in soils and can subsequently be found in the tissues of earthworms that live in wastewater-irrigated soils. Because earthworms continuously ingest soils they can serve as sentinel species indicative of the biological uptake of emerging contaminants in these impacted environments. Confirmation of these results is pending and will determine future research activities on contaminant uptake by earthworms.

Project Headlines

More Information

Publications

Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Kolpin, D.W., Burkhardt, M.R., Zaugg, S.D., Werner, S.L., Bossio, J.P., and Benotti, M.J., 2008, Bioaccumulation of pharmaceuticals and other anthropogenic waste indicators in earthworms from agricultural soil amended with biosolid or swine manure: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 42, no. 6, p. 1863-1870, doi:10.1021/es702304c.

Related Emerging Contaminants Investigations

Related Headlines

Related Publications

Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Werner, S.L., and Cahill, J.D., 2006, Presence and distribution of wastewater-derived pharmaceuticals in soil irrigated with reclaimed water: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 25, no. 2, p. 317-326, doi:10.1897/05-187R.1.

Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Zaugg, S.D., Burkhardt, M.R., Werner, S.L., Cahill, J.D., and Jorgensen, G.R., 2006, Survey of organic wastewater contaminants in biosolids destined for land application: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 40, no. 23, p. 7207-7215, doi:10.1021/es0603406.

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