The paper assesses the usefulness of the concept of ‘concentration addition’ (CA) for describing the joint effect of pesticides on aquatic organisms, based on literature data from 1972 to 1998. For more than 90% of 202 mixtures in 26 studies, CA was found to predict effect concentrations correctly within a factor of two. Although from a theoretical point of view the assumption of CA may be invalid when dealing with mixtures of compounds with dissimilar modes of action, the experimental results have usually been indistinguishable from that predicted by CA. Deviations from CA did occur, but were mostly limited in extent. Upward and downward deviations from CA were of comparable magnitude and frequency, and tended to cancel each other out. The combinations identified as most frequently leading to deviations from CA were those of an organophosphorus ester or a carbamate with either another organophosphorus ester or a synthetic pyrethroid.
© 2000 Society of Chemical Industry