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Comparative effects of pH and Vision® herbicide on two life stages of four anuran amphibian species


  • Presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, November 11–15, 2001.


Vision®, a glyphosate-based herbicide containing a 15% (weight:weight) polyethoxylated tallow amine surfactant blend, and the concurrent factor of pH were tested to determine their interactive effects on early life-stage anurans. Ninety-six-hour laboratory static renewal studies, using the embryonic and larval life stages (Gosner 25) of Rana clamitans, R. pipiens, Bufo americanus, and Xenopus laevis, were performed under a central composite rotatable design. Mortality and the prevalence of malformations were modeled using generalized linear models with a profile deviance approach for obtaining confidence intervals. There was a significant (p < 0.05) interaction of pH with Vision concentration in all eight models, such that the toxicity of Vision was amplified by elevated pH. The surfactant is the major toxic component of Vision and is hypothesized, in this study, to be the source of the pH interaction. Larvae of B. americanus and R. clamitans were 1.5 to 3.8 times more sensitive than their corresponding embryos, whereas X. laevis and R. pipiens larvae were 6.8 to 8.9 times more sensitive. At pH values above 7.5, the Vision concentrations expected to kill 50% of the test larvae in 96-h (96-h lethal concentration [LC50]) were predicted to be below the expected environmental concentration (EEC) as calculated by Canadian regulatory authorities. The EEC value represents a worst-case scenario for aerial Vision application and is calculated assuming an application of the maximum label rate (2.1 kg acid equivalents [a.e.]/ha) into a pond 15 cm in depth. The EEC of 1.4 mg a.e./L (4.5 mg/L Vision) was not exceeded by 96-h LC50 values for the embryo test. The larvae of the four species were comparable in sensitivity. Field studies should be completed using the more sensitive larval life stage to test for Vision toxicity at actual environmental concentrations.