Small Mammals as Monitors of Environmental Contaminants

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Abstract

Many potentially harmful chemicals, both natural and anthropogenic, are released to the environment every year. Although chemical analyses of soil, air, and water can provide information on the concentrations of specific compounds present, these analyses alone are inadequate to assess the availability and potential toxicity of contaminants to humans and wildlife. Animals in these environments, however, integrate contaminant exposure spatially, temporally, and across media. Therefore, mammalian body burdens and responses are uniquely realistic indicators of mammalian exposure to chemicals.

Prepared for the Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management, U.S. Department of Energy, under contract DE-ACO5-84OR21400 with Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc.
Publication No. 3503, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.