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Keywords:

  • Mixture toxicity;
  • Biocide;
  • Coformulant;
  • Adjuvant

Abstract

The current European legislation requires that combined effects of the active substances and any substance of concern contained in biocidal products are taken into account in environmental risk assessment. The hypothesis whether the consideration of active substances together with all formulation additives that are labeled as presenting an environmental hazard is sufficient for a reliable environmental risk assessment was tested in the present study by investigating 3 wood preservative products. Relevant single substances in the products, some of their generic mixtures, the biocidal products themselves, and aqueous eluates prepared from the products (representing potential environmental mixtures) were tested for effects on algal growth and Daphnia acute immobilization as well as reproduction. Predictions for the products and the eluates were based on the concept of concentration addition and were mostly found to provide reliable or at least protective estimates for the observed acute and chronic toxicity of the mixtures. The mixture toxicity considerations also indicated that the toxicity of each product was dominated by just 1 of the components, and that assessments based only on the dominating substance would be similarly protective as a full-mixture risk assessment. Yet, there remained uncertainty in some cases that could be related to the toxicity of transformation products, the impact of unidentified formulation additives, or synergistic interaction between active substances and formulation additives. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;33:382–393. © 2013 SETAC