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Taylor, V.F., K.L. Buckman, and R.M. Burgess. | Chemosphere 234:806-814(2019)

An in situ passive sampler using simple polymer films was explored as an efficient and environmentally relevant monitoring tool for Hg and MeHg. The sulfur-containing polymers polysulfone (PS) and polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) accumulated MeHg and inorganic Hg (iHg), whereas polyethylene (PE) sorbed iHg but not MeHg. Polyoxymethylene (POM) and polyethersulfone (PES) films had low affinity for both Hg species. Uptake rates of Hg species into polymers were linear over 2 weeks and dissolved organic matter at natural levels had no effect on the partitioning of MeHg or iHg to the polymers. Sorption of MeHg to PS and PPS from three estuarine sediments correlated with uptake into diffusive gel-type samplers over time, and in PPS with accumulation by the estuarine amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus. These polymers had lower MeHg adsorption rates but are simpler to assemble than diffusive gel-type samplers. Higher contaminant concentrations in polymer and gel-type samplers corresponded with porewater concentrations across sediments, suggesting they sample the dissolved MeHg pool. MeHg levels in amphipods were more elevated with higher bulk sediment MeHg, which may reflect feeding strategy.

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