Chronic toxicity of fluorotelomer acids to Daphnia magna and Chironomus dilutus

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Abstract

Saturated and unsaturated fluorotelomer carboxylic acids (fluorotelomer acids: FTAs) represent important intermediates in the degradation of fluorotelomer alcohols to perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs). Recent studies have detected FTAs at low concentrations (ng/L) in precipitation and surface waters; however, information regarding chronic toxicity is lacking. The present study assessed the chronic toxicity of the 8:2 saturated fluorotelomer carboxylic acid (8:2 FTCA) to Chironomus dilutus and the 10:2 saturated and unsaturated fluorotelomer carboxylic acids (10:2 FTCA and 10:2 fluorotelomer unsaturated carboxylic acid [FTuCA]) to Daphnia magna in separate life-cycle tests. In D. magna tests the FTCA was consistently more toxic than the FTuCA. Lethal concentrations (LC50s) were 150 and >60 µg/L for FTuCA and FTCA, respectively. Reproduction was significantly reduced relative to the controls, with respective median effective concentrations (EC50s) for time to first brood and mean number of offspring/female of 287 and 214 µg/L for FTuCA and 50 and 48 µg/L for FTCA. In tests with C. dilutus, EC50s for survival and growth at 20 d were 2,610 and 1,250 µg/L. Total emergence and time to first emergence, the most sensitive endpoints, yielded EC50s of 440 and 890 µg/L. Few adults emerged and no reproduction occurred at the two highest concentrations (600 and 1540 µg/L). Mean number of eggs/female was not affected. These results represent the first chronic toxicity data for FTCAs and additional evidence that FTCAs are more toxic than some PFCAs. While the results indicate that current environmental concentrations of FTAs likely pose negligible risk to aquatic biota, additional quantification of FTAs in surface waters and assessment of their toxicity is needed before meaningful assessments of potential risks to aquatic biota are possible. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:1123–1131. © 2010 SETAC

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