Comparative toxicity and bioconcentration of nonylphenol in freshwater organisms

Authors

  • Robert L. Spehar,

    Corresponding author
    1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, 6201 Congdon Boulevard, Duluth, Minnesota 55804
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, 6201 Congdon Boulevard, Duluth, Minnesota 55804.
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  • Larry T. Brooke,

    1. Lake Superior Research Institute, University of Wisconsin–Superior, Superior, Wisconsin 54880, USA
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  • Thomas P. Markee,

    1. Lake Superior Research Institute, University of Wisconsin–Superior, Superior, Wisconsin 54880, USA
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  • Michael D. Kahl

    1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, 6201 Congdon Boulevard, Duluth, Minnesota 55804
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Abstract

Degradation of alkylphenol ethoxylates to more persistent alkylphenols such as nonylphenol occurs in wastewater treatment plants where nonylphenol is released to aquatic systems. In this study, acute and chronic tests were conducted to determine the toxicity and bioconcentration of nonylphenol to freshwater organisms for use in deriving national water quality criteria. Acute median effect concentrations (EC50s) based on loss of equilibrium, immobility, and lethality for species representing several taxonomic groups ranged from 21 to 596 µg/L. The EC50s were up to a factor of 2 less than median lethal concentrations (LC50s) and decreased with time over the test periods of 24 to 96 h. In chronic tests, early life stages of rainbow trout were 14 times more sensitive to nonylphenol than in acute tests and approximately 20 times more sensitive than Daphnia magna exposed over their complete life cycle. Comparisons of chronic test endpoints showed that 20% effect concentrations (EC20s), determined by regression testing, and chronic values, determined by hypothesis testing, were similar for both the rainbow trout and Daphnia magna. The lowest mean tissue–effect concentrations of nonylphenol appeared to be greater for the fathead minnow than bluegill, and ranged from approximately 130 to 160 µg/g after 96-h exposure and from approximately 20 to 90 µg/g after 28-d exposure. Mean lipid normalized bioconcentration factors (BCFs) associated with no-effect concentrations were approximately 180 and 50 for the fathead minnow and bluegill, respectively. The present test results suggest that long-term exposures to nonylphenol at concentrations found in some surface waters could adversely impact sensitive components of freshwater communities. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:2104–2111. © 2010 SETAC

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