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Acute Toxicity of Fire Control Chemicals to Daphnia magna (Straus) and Selenastrum capricornutum (Printz)

Susan F. McDonald,* Steven J. Hamilton,* Kevin J. Buhl,* and James F. Heisinger †

*Columbia Environmental Research Center, U.S. National Biological Service, Field Research Station, Yankton, South Dakota 57078; and †Biology Department, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069

Abstract

Acute toxicity tests were conducted exposing Daphnia magna Straus (daphnid) in soft and hard reconstituted waters (hardness 42 and 162 mg/liter as CaCO3, respectively), and Selenastrum capricornutum Printz (algae) in ASTM algal assay medium (hardness 15 mg/liter as CaCO3) to fire retardants Fire-Trol GTS-R, Fire-Trol LCG-R, and Phos-Chek D75-F, and foam suppressants Phos-Chek WD-881 and Silv-Ex. The chemicals were slightly toxic to practically harmless to daphnids and moderately toxic to algae. Water quality did not consistently alter the toxicity of the test chemicals to daphnids. The most toxic chemical to daphnids was Silv-Ex (48-hr EC50 7 mg/liter in soft and hard waters), whereas the least toxic chemical to daphnids was Fire-Trol LCG-R (48-hr EC50 848 mg/liter in soft water, 813 mg/liter in hard water). The most toxic chemical to algae was Fire-Trol LCG-R (96-hr IC50 10 mg/liter), and the least toxic chemical was Phos-Chek D75-F (96-hr IC50 79 mg/liter). Un-ionized ammonia concentrations near the EC50 or IC50 value in tests with the Fire-Trol compunds were frequently equal to or above LC50 un-ionized ammonia concentrations. Un-ionized ammonia concentrations in tests with Phos-Chek D75-F were low, thus other toxic components present in the compounds probably contributed to the toxicity. When compared to the daphnids tested in ASTM soft water, the Fire-Trol compounds were most toxic to algae, whereas Phos-Chek D75-F and the foam suppressants were most toxic to daphnids. The results of these tests are comparable to those obtained from research conducted in other laboratories with the same species and similar chemicals. Accidental entry of fire-fighting chemicals into aquatic environments could adversely affect algae and aquatic invertebrates, thus disrupting ecosystem function.


This resource is based on the following source:
McDonald, Susan F., Steven J. Hamilton, Kevin J. Buhl,  and James F. Heisinger.
     1995.  Acute toxicity of fire control chemicals to Daphnia magna
     (Straus) and Selenastrum capricornutum (Printz).  Ecotoxicology and 
     Environmental Safety.  33(0007):62-72.
     
This resource should be cited as:
McDonald, Susan F., Steven J. Hamilton, Kevin J. Buhl,  and James F. Heisinger.
     1995.  Acute toxicity of fire control chemicals to Daphnia magna
     (Straus) and Selenastrum capricornutum (Printz).  Ecotoxicology and 
     Environmental Safety.  33(0007):62-72. 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/othrdata/fireweb/damaseca.htm
     (Version 02MAR98).

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Acknowledgments

This study, part of a master's thesis by the first author, was sponsored by the Interior Fire Coordinating Committee, U.S. Department of the Interior. The authors thank A. Bullard, M. Ehlers, and M. Gaikowski for excellent technical assistance in conducting toxicity tests, and K. Faerber for typing the manuscript.


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