Skip to main content
Log in

Are Lead Exposures a Risk in European Fresh Waters? A Regulatory Assessment Accounting for Bioavailability

  • Published:
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

An indicative compliance assessment of the Europe-wide bioavailable lead Environmental Quality Standard of 1.2 µg L−1 (EQS) was undertaken against regulatory freshwater monitoring data from six European member states and FOREGS database. Bio-met, a user-friendly tool based upon Biotic Ligand Models (BLMs) was used to account for bioavailability, along with the current European Water Framework Directive lead dissolved organic carbon correction approach. The outputs from both approaches were compared to the BLM. Of the 9054 freshwater samples assessed only 0.6% exceeded the EQS of 1.2 µg L−1 after accounting for bioavailability. The data showed that ambient background concentrations of lead across Europe are unlikely to influence general compliance with the EQS, although there may be isolated local issues. The waters showing the greatest sensitivity to potential lead exposures are characterized by relatively low DOC (< 0.5 mg L−1), regardless of the pH and calcium concentrations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. http://bio-met.net/.

References

  • Alsop D, Ng T, Chowdhury J, Wood C (2016) Interactions of waterborne and dietborne Pb in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss: bioaccumulation, physiological responses, and chronic toxicity. Aquat Toxicol 177:343–354

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Comber SDW, Merrington G, Sturdy L, Delbeke K, van Assche F (2008) Copper and zinc water quality standards under the EU Water Framework Directive: the use of a tiered approach to estimate the levels of failure. Sci Total Environ 403:12–22

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Crane M, Kwok KWH, Wells C, Whitehouse P, Lui GCS (2007) Use of field data to support european water framework directive quality standards for dissolved metals. Environ Sci Technol 41:5014–5021

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Environment Agency (2009) Using biotic ligand models to help implement environmental quality standards for metals under the Water Framework Directive. Science Report SC080021/SR7b. Environment Agency, Bristol

  • European Commission (EC) (2010a) Lead and its compounds (final revision Oct 12 2010) EQS sheet. Prepared by UK, Environment Agency on behalf of the European Union

  • European Commission (EC) (2010b) Nickel and its compounds (final revision Oct 12 2010) EQS sheet. Prepared by Denmark, Danish Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the European Union

  • European Commission (EC) (2011) Common implementation strategy for the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) guidance document no. 27 technical guidance for deriving environmental quality standards. European Communities

  • European Commission (EC) (2013) Directive 2013/39/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy. Off J Eur Union 226:1–7

    Google Scholar 

  • European Environment Agency (EEA) (2016) Watrebase Lakes Dataset. EEA. https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/waterbase-lakes-10. Accessed 20 June 2016

  • Havs-och vattenmyndighetens (2016) Contaminants in water classification of surface water status, Guidance on the application of HVMFS 2013: 19. Marine and Water Agency Report 2016: 26. Havs-och vattenmyndigheten, Box 11 930, 404 39 Göteborg, Sweden

  • ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) (2008) Water quality—sampling: part 20: guidance on the use of sampling data for decision making -compliance with thresholds and classification. International Organization for Standardization. ISO 5667–20:2008(E). Switzerland

  • Merrington G, Peters A, Schlekat CE (2016) Accounting for metal bioavailability in assessing water quality: a step change? Environ Toxicol Chem 35:257–265

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Peters A, Merrington G, Delbeke K, de Schamphelaere K (2011) Regulatory consideration of bioavailability for metals: simplification of input parameters for the chronic copper biotic ligand model. Integr Environ Assess Manag 7:437–444

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Salminen R (2005) Forum of European Geological Surveys (FOREGS) Database EuroGeoSurveys. http://weppi.gtk.fi/publ/foregsatlas/. Accessed 11 July 2016

  • Van Sprang PA, Nys C, Blust R, Chowdhury MJ, Gustafsson JP, Janssen CJ, De Schamphelaere KAC (2016) The derivation of safe concentrations of lead for European freshwater ecosystems. Environ Toxicol Chem 35(5):1310–1320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • WCA (2015) Technical guidance to implementing bioavailability based environmental quality standards for metals. Eurometaux, Brussels

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for providing the data from Scottish waters used in this assessment.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adam Peters.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Peters, A., Wilson, I., Merrington, G. et al. Are Lead Exposures a Risk in European Fresh Waters? A Regulatory Assessment Accounting for Bioavailability. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 100, 127–133 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2238-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2238-8

Keywords

Navigation