Toxicological risks for small mammals in a diffusely and moderately polluted floodplain

S. Wijnhoven, R.S.E.W. Leuven, G. van der Velde, H.J.P. Eijsackers

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The ecotoxicological risk of heavy metal pollution in diffusely polluted floodplains is largely unclear, as field-based data are scarce. This study investigated cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) accumulation in the liver and kidneys of small mammal species (voles, mice and shrews) from a moderately polluted Dutch floodplain. The Cd and Pb concentrations were compared with effect concentrations (ECs). Reported ECs in literature varied considerably, with the lowest values frequently exceeded by our values, whereas the highest values were encountered only occasionally. Cd and Pb levels were highest in the shrew species, particularly in Sorex araneus. Although toxicological effects at the specimen level were present in these floodplains, effects at population level are thought to be limited, as a result of the animals' relatively short life expectancies (due to recurrent floods) and the rapid maturation of small mammals. Exceptionally high tissue metal concentrations in some specimens of all species indicated local hotspots with peaks in metal concentrations. Sanitizing such local hotspots might reduce toxicological risks. (C) 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • metal accumulation
  • river floodplains
  • heavy-metals
  • food-chain
  • cadmium
  • exposure
  • liver
  • lead
  • mice
  • bioaccumulation


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