Characterizing the effects of bisphenol A on sediment-dwelling benthic organisms

Environ Toxicol Chem. 2016 Mar;35(3):652-9. doi: 10.1002/etc.3217. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical intermediate used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It primarily enters surface water and sediment via effluent discharges during its manufacture and use. The physical properties of BPA suggest that sediment is a potential sink and may result in exposure to benthic organisms. Currently there are no studies measuring the chronic toxicity of BPA to benthic organisms via direct sediment exposure. The present study examined the chronic toxicity of BPA to 3 commonly used test organisms that are generally representative of invertebrates occupying the base of the benthic food web and for which standardized testing protocols are available: the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus (mean numbers and biomass), the midge Chironomus riparius (emergence and development rate), and the estuarine amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus (survival, growth, and reproduction). No-observed-effect concentrations (NOECs) for the 3 species ranged from 12 mg/kg to 54 mg/kg dry weight. All NOEC values were higher than all measured concentrations of BPA in freshwater and marine sediments reported in reliable, fully reported studies from North America and Europe from the 1990s to the present. For the first time, there are studies with BPA measuring the chronic toxicity to 3 taxa of sediment dwelling invertebrates, which are suitable to support region-specific risk assessments.

Keywords: Amphipod; Benthos; Midge; Oligochaete; Risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Amphipoda
  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Biomass
  • Chironomidae
  • Fresh Water / analysis
  • Geologic Sediments
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Oligochaeta
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Seawater
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • bisphenol A