A passive sampling model to predict PAHs in butter clams (Saxidomus giganteus), a traditional food source for Native American tribes of the Salish Sea Region

Mar Pollut Bull. 2019 Aug;145:28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.05.020. Epub 2019 May 17.


Native Americans face disproportionate exposures to environmental pollution through traditional subsistence practices including shellfish harvesting. In this study, the collection of butter clams (Saxidomus giganteus) was spatially and temporally paired with deployment of sediment pore water passive samplers at 20 locations in the Puget Sound region of the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, USA, within adjudicated usual and accustomed tribal fishing grounds and stations. Clams and passive samplers were analyzed for 62 individual PAHs. A linear regression model was constructed to predict PAH concentrations in the edible fraction of butter clams from the freely dissolved fraction (Cfree) in porewater. PAH concentrations can be predicted within a factor of 1.9 ± 0.2 on average from the freely dissolved PAH concentration in porewater using the following equation: PAHClam=4.1±0.1×PAHporewater This model offers a simplified, cost effective, and low impact approach to assess contaminant levels in butter clams which are an important traditional food.

Keywords: Clams; Native Americans; PAHs; Passive sampling; Predictive models; Sediment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bivalvia / chemistry*
  • Bivalvia / drug effects*
  • Bivalvia / growth & development
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / pharmacology*
  • Shellfish / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / pharmacology*


  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical