The aim of this study was to study ecological risk assessment of trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) in Izmit Bay surface sediments in the <63 mu m fraction. Sediment samples were collected from 8 sites along the north coastline of the bay. Samples were subjected to a total digestion technique and analyzed for major (organic carbon) and minor (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) elements. Sediments heavily contaminated are evaluated by the Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQG) of US EPA. The degree of contamination (C-d) is estimated as very high at each site. Two sets of SQGs, effect range-low/effect range median values and TEL/probable effect level (PEL) values were used in our study. Sediments from the each site are judged toxic when two or more of the PEL values exceed EPA guidelines. Our results are in agreement with previously reported sediment toxicity test results. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.