Application of the Activity Framework for Assessing Aquatic Ecotoxicology Data for Organic Chemicals

Paul Thomas, James Dawick, Mark Lampi, Philippe Lemaire, Shaun Presow, Roger van Egmond, Jon A. Arnot, Donald Mackay, Philipp Mayer, Malyka Galay Burgos

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Abstract

Toxicological research in the 1930s gave the first indications of the link between narcotic toxicity and the chemical activity of organic chemicals. More recently, chemical activity has been proposed as a novel exposure parameter that describes the fraction of saturation and that quantifies the potential for partitioning and diffusive uptake. In the present study, more than 2000 acute and chronic algal, aquatic invertebrates and fish toxicity data, as well as water solubility and melting point values, were collected from a series of sources. The data were critically reviewed and grouped by mode of action (MoA). We considered 660 toxicity data to be of acceptable quality. The 328 data which applied to the 72 substances identified as MoA 1 were then evaluated within the activity-toxicity framework: EC50 and LC50 values for all three taxa correlated generally well with (subcooled) liquid solubilities. Acute toxicity was typically exerted within the chemical activity range of 0.01-0.1, whereas chronic toxicity was exerted in the range of 0.001-0.01. These results confirm that chemical activity has the potential to contribute to the determination, interpretation and prediction of toxicity to aquatic organisms. It also has the potential to enhance regulation of organic chemicals by linking results from laboratory tests, monitoring and modeling programs. The framework can provide an additional line of evidence for assessing aquatic toxicity, for improving the design of toxicity tests, reducing animal usage and addressing chemical mixtures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume49
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)12289-12296
Number of pages8
ISSN0013-936X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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