Extensive biological sampling on five abandoned hazardous waste sites in New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico was undertaken during 1981 and 1982 to determine the impact of priority pollutants on aquatic fauna and, potentially, on human health. The selection criteria for sites, sampling equipment, problems in personnel protection, and sample handling procedures are presented.
The effects of the hazardous waste sites were assessed using a wide range of fish and invertebrate species. Tissue specimens from eleven vertebrate and eight invertebrate species were analyzed. Forty samples of these tissue specimens were analyzed for all inorganic priority pollutant parameters; an additional 35 samples were analyzed for organic priority pollutants or an appropriate subset of them. High concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in aquatic organisms exposed to chemical landfill leachate; the results of the tissue analyses at other sites were negative.
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