Acute and chronic toxicity of lead in water and diet to the amphipod Hyalella azteca

Authors

  • John M. Besser,

    Corresponding author
    1. U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201
    • U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201
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  • William G. Brumbaugh,

    1. U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201
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  • Eric L. Brunson,

    1. U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201
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  • Christopher G. Ingersoll

    1. U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201
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  • Mention of trade names does not constitute endorsement of the federal government or the U.S. Geological Survey.

Abstract

We evaluated the influence of waterborne and dietary lead (Pb) exposure on the acute and chronic toxicity of Pb to the amphipod Hyalella azteca. Test solutions were generated by a modified diluter with an extended (24-h) equilibration period. Acute (96-h) toxicity of Pb varied with water hardness in the range of 71 to 275 mg/L as CaCO3, despite similar dissolved Pb concentrations. Acute toxicity was greatest in soft test water, with less than 50% survival at the lowest dissolved Pb concentration (151 μg/L). Survival also was significantly reduced in medium-hardness water but not in hard test water. In chronic (42-d) studies, amphipods were exposed to waterborne Pb and fed either a control diet or a diet equilibrated with waterborne Pb levels. For animals fed the control diet, the median lethal concentration (LC50) for Pb was 24 μg/L (as dissolved Pb), and significant reductions in survival occurred at 16 μg/L. Exposure to Pb-treated diets significantly increased toxicity across a wide range of dissolved Pb concentrations, with a LC50 of 16 μg/L and significant reductions in growth and reproduction at 3.5 μg/L. Significant effects on growth and reproduction occurred at dissolved Pb concentrations close to the current U.S. chronic water-quality criterion. Our results suggest that both aqueous- and dietary-exposure pathways contribute significantly to chronic Pb exposure and toxic effects in aquatic biota.

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