Use of a novel sediment exposure to determine the effects of triclosan on estuarine benthic communities

Kay T. Ho*, Anthony A. Chariton, Lisa M. Portis, Dina Proestou, Mark G. Cantwell, Jeffrey G. Baguley, Robert M. Burgess, Stuart Simpson, Marguerite C. Pelletier, Monique M. Perron, Claudia K. Gunsch, Holly M. Bik, David Katz, Anthony Kamikawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Triclosan (5-chloro-2-[2,4-dichlorophenoxy]phenol) is a relatively new, commonly used antimicrobial compound found in many personal care products. Triclosan is toxic to marine organisms at the micrograms per liter level, can photodegrade to a dioxin, can accumulate in humans, and has been found to be stable in marine sediments for over 30 years. To determine the effects of triclosan on marine benthic communities, intact sediment cores were brought into the laboratory and held under flowing seawater conditions. A 2-cm layer of triclosan-spiked sediment was applied to the surface, and after a two-week exposure the meio- and macrofaunal communities were assessed for differences in composition relative to nonspiked cores. A high triclosan treatment (180mg/kg dry wt) affected both the meio- and the macrobenthic communities. There were no discernible differences with a low-triclosan treatment (14mg/kg dry wt). This exposure method is effective for testing the benthic community response to sediment contaminants, but improvements should be made with regard to the amount and method of applying the overlying sediment to prevent smothering of fragile benthic organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-392
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Benthic communities
  • Estuarine
  • Mesocosm
  • Sediment
  • Triclosan


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