Mixture toxicity of wood preservative products in the fish embryo toxicity test



Wood preservative products are used globally to protect wood from fungal decay and insects. We investigated the aquatic toxicity of five commercial wood preservative products, the biocidal active substances and some formulation additives contained therein, as well as six generic binary mixtures of the active substances in the fish embryo toxicity test (FET). Median lethal concentrations (LC50) of the single substances, the mixtures, and the products were estimated from concentration–response curves and corrected for concentrations measured in the test medium. The comparison of the experimentally observed mixture toxicity with the toxicity predicted by the concept of concentration addition (CA) showed less than twofold deviation for all binary mixtures of the active substances and for three of the biocidal products. A more than 60-fold underestimation of the toxicity of the fourth product by the CA prediction was detected and could be explained fully by the toxicity of one formulation additive, which had been labeled as a hazardous substance. The reason for the 4.6-fold underestimation of toxicity of the fifth product could not be explained unambiguously. Overall, the FET was found to be a suitable screening tool to verify whether the toxicity of formulated wood preservatives can reliably be predicted by CA. Applied as a quick and simple nonanimal screening test, the FET may support approaches of applying component-based mixture toxicity predictions within the environmental risk assessment of biocidal products, which is required according to European regulations. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:1239–1248. © 2012 SETAC