Assessing the biological relevance of exposing freshwater organisms to atrazine and molinate in environmentally realistic exposure test systems

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Journal Article
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2008, 27 (2), pp. 420 - 424
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Assessing the toxicity of chemicals in treated laboratory water may not accurately represent the toxicity of chemicals in natural aquatic systems. In natural water, dissolved organic matter, suspended particulate matter, and sediment play key roles in the sorption of contaminants from the water. Our previously published series of papers illustrated that the presence of sediment in aquatic toxicity testing systems significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the bioavailability of the herbicides atrazine and molinate to five Australian freshwater organisms. It is not clear whether the reduced bioavailability means that the trigger values (TVs) in the current Australian and New Zealand water quality guidelines, which are calculated using toxicity data from water-only toxicity tests, provide appropriate environmental protection. Several new sets of TVs were derived in the present study and were compared to each other and to the current Australian and New Zealand TVs for atrazine and molinate. The current Australian and New Zealand TVs for atrazine and molinate provided appropriate protection to Australian freshwater species. Australian freshwater species have a sensitivity distribution similar to those of overseas species to atrazine and molinate. © 2008 SETAC.
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