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Accumulation and DNA damage in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to 2 brominated flame-retardant mixtures, Firemaster® 550 and Firemaster® BZ-54

Authors

  • Jonathan S. Bearr,

    1. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons, Maryland 20688, USA
    2. Department of Toxicology, University of Maryland–Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA
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  • Heather M. Stapleton,

    1. Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27706, USA
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  • Carys L. Mitchelmore

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons, Maryland 20688, USA
    • University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons, Maryland 20688, USA.
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Abstract

Firemaster® 550 and Firemaster® BZ-54 are two brominated formulations that are in use as replacements for polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. Two major components of these mixtures are 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-ethylhexylbenzoate (TBB) and 2,3,4,5-tetrabromo-bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (TBPH). Both have been measured in environmental matrices; however, scant toxicological information exists. The present study aimed to determine if these brominated flame-retardant formulations are bioavailable and adversely affect DNA integrity in fish. Fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were orally exposed to either FM 550, FM BZ54, or the nonbrominated form of TBPH, di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) for 56 d and depurated (e.g., fed clean food) for 22 d. At several time points, liver and blood cells were collected and assessed for DNA damage. Homogenized fish tissues were extracted and analyzed on day 0 and day 56 to determine the residue of TBB and TBPH and the appearance of any metabolites using gas chromatography-electron-capture negative ion mass spectrometry (GC/ECNI-MS). Significant increases (p < 0.05) in DNA strand breaks from liver cells (but not blood cells) were observed during the exposure period compared with controls, although during depuration these levels returned to control. Both parent compounds, TBB and TBPH, were detected in tissues at approximately 1% of daily dosage along with brominated metabolites. The present study provides evidence for accumulation, metabolism, and genotoxicity of these new formulation flame retardants in fish and highlights the potential adverse effects of TBB- and TBPH-formulated fire retardants to aquatic species. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:722–729. © 2009 SETAC

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