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Acute Toxicity of Three Fire-Retardant and Two Fire-Suppressant Foam Formulations to the Early Life Stages of Rainbow Trout (Oncorynchus mykiss)

Mark P. Gaikowski1, Steven J. Hamilton1*, Kevin J. Buhl1,
Susan F. McDonald1, and Cliff H. Summers2

1National Biological Service, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Yankton Field Research Station, Yankton, South Dakota 57078, USA
2 Department of Biology, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069, USA


Abstract

Laboratory studies were conducted with five early life stages of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, to determine the acute toxicities of five fire-fighting chemical formulations in standardized soft and hard water. Eyed egg, embryo-larvae, swim-up fry, 60- and 90-day post-hatch juveniles were exposed to three fire retardants (Fire-Trol LCG-R, Fire-Trol GTS-R, and Phos-Chek D75-F), and two fire-suppressant foams (Phos-Chek WD-881 and Silv-Ex). Swim-up fry of rainbow trout were generally the most sensitive life stage, whereas the eyed-egg life stage was the least sensitive. Toxicity of fire-fighting formulations was greater in hard water than soft water for all life stages tested with Fire-Trol GTS-R and Silv-Ex, and 90-day old juveniles tested with Fire-Trol LCG-R. Fire-suppressant foams were more toxic than the fire retardants. The 96-h LC50s were rank ordered from the most toxic to the least toxic formulation as follows: Phos-Chek WD-881 (11 - 44 mg/L) > Silv-Ex (11 - 78 mg/L) > Phos-Chek D75-F (218 - >3,600 mg/L) > Fire-Trol GTS-R (207 - >6,000 mg/L) > Fire-Trol LCG-R (872 - >10,000 mg/L); (ranges are the lowest and highest 96-h LC50 calculated for each formulation). Toxicity values suggest that accidental entry of fire-fighting chemicals into aquatic environments could adversely affect fish populations.

Keywords -- Fire retardants, Fire suppressants, Toxicity, Rainbow trout.


This resource is based on the following source:
Gaikowski, Mark P., Steven J. Hamilton, Kevin J. Buhl, Susan F. McDonald, and 
     Cliff Summers.  1996.  Acute toxicity of firefighting chemical 
     formulations to four life stages of fathead minnow.  Environmental 
     Toxicology and Chemistry.  15(8):1365-1374.
     
This resource should be cited as:
Gaikowski, Mark P., Steven J. Hamilton, Kevin J. Buhl, Susan F. McDonald, and 
     Cliff Summers.  1996.  Acute toxicity of firefighting chemical 
     formulations to four life stages of fathead minnow.  Environmental 
     Toxicology and Chemistry.  15(8):1365-1374.  
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/othrdata/fireweb/oncomyki.htm
     (Version 02MAR98).

Table of Contents

* To whom correspondence may be addressed.

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Acknowledgments

This study was sponsored by the Interior Fire Coordinating Committee, U.S. Department of the Interior. We thank Dr. Yuhlong Lio and Dr. Karen Olmstead for their statistical advice, and Art Bullard, Marv Ehlers, Rachel Harris, and Joel Reynolds for their assistance in test setup and data collection, and Karen Faerber and Trisha Gaikowski for typing the manuscript and its numerous drafts.


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