This paper discusses the derivation of environmental quality standards for coastal waters and the difficulties of using such standards for controlling industrial discharges. Attention is focused on the common List II substances, copper, chromium, lead, nickel, zinc and arsenic - and their effects on marine life. The adequacy of existing toxicity data is discussed and it is concluded that long exposure tests are required to provide information on sublethal effects. Such data are currently limited. It is also important that consideration be given to the effects that reducing salinities and increasing temperatures have in increasing the toxicity of these substances. The complexity of interpreting the results of laboratory toxicity data to coastal waters is discussed with reference to a study of the impact of an industrial discharge.

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