The Fort Totten mercury pollution risk assessment: a case history

J Hazard Mater. 2006 Aug 25;136(3):406-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2005.11.047. Epub 2006 Jan 18.


Operational activities have resulted in mercury in the sediments surrounding Little Bay in Queens, NY. This is adjacent to Fort Totten, a formerly used defense site. Some of the mercury levels in these sediments exceeded New York State screening values. A human health risk assessment was accomplished, based on conservative assumptions. The risk assessment examined the potential for adverse health effects from direct contact with and ingestion of contaminated sediments/surface water and ingestion of biota. Potential exposures to recreational receptors including adults and children were examined. The highest numerical risk results from finfish ingestion and then second for exposure from dermal contact to the sediments. The only exposure pathway showing a hazard quotient greater than unity is finfish ingestion for the child. In summary, overall risk to this mercury exposure is minimal in spite of the state screening value being exceeded.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Bass
  • Brachyura
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Flounder
  • Fundulidae
  • Geologic Sediments / analysis
  • Humans
  • Mercury / adverse effects*
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mytilus
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • New York
  • Ostreidae
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / adverse effects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Mercury