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Sediment and polyethylene sampler-based estimates of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin/dibenzofuran (PCDD/F) concentrations in Newark Bay, New Jersey (USA) benthic biota were compared. Biota concentrations based on sediment were estimated using an organic carbon (OC)-water partitioning model and an OC and black carbon (BC)-water dual model. Biota concentrations based on polyethylene were estimated from samplers deployed in the Newark Bay water column and samplers immersed in a sediment/porewater slurry in the laboratory. Porewater samplers provided the best estimates of biota concentrations (within 3.1x), with best results achieved for deposit-feeders (within 1.6x). Polyethylene deployed in deep water also provided good estimates of biota concentrations (within 4x). By contrast, OC-water partitioning overestimated biota concentrations by up to 7x, while OC and BC combined underestimated biota concentrations by up to 13x. We recommend polyethylene for estimating concentrations of hydrophobic organic contaminants in field biota given its simplicity and relatively lower uncertainty compared to sediment equilibrium partitioning.

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