Toxicity benchmarks for antimony, barium, and beryllium determined using reproduction endpoints for Folsomia candida, Eisenia fetida, and Enchytraeus crypticus


  • Presented at the Symposium on Risk Assessment of Metals in Soils, 14th Annual Meeting, SETAC Europe Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic, April 18–22, 2004.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing ecological soil screening levels (Eco-SSLs) for the ecological risk assessment of contaminants at Superfund sites. The Eco-SSLs for several soil contaminants have been developed from toxicity benchmarks for soil invertebrates in the existing literature. Insufficient information to generate Eco-SSLs for Sb, Ba, and Be necessitated toxicity testing to fill the data gaps. We used standardized toxicity tests with the earthworm Eisenia fetida, enchytraeid Enchytraeus crypticus, and collembolan Folsomia candida in the present study. These tests were selected on the basis of their ability to measure chemical toxicity to ecologically relevant test species during chronic assays and their inclusion of at least one reproduction component among the measurement endpoints. Tests were conducted in Sassafras Sandy Loam soil, which supports relatively high bioavailability of metals. Weathering and aging procedures for metals in amended soil were incorporated into these studies to better reflect exposure conditions in the field. The relative toxicity of metals to the soil invertebrates tested was Be > Sb > Ba based on the median effective concentration values for reproduction. These studies produced toxicological data that can contribute to the development of Eco-SSLs for Sb, Ba, and Be for soil invertebrates.