Evaluation of acute-to-chronic ratios of fish and Daphnia to predict acceptable no-effect levels

Acute-to-chronic extrapolation is an important approach to predict acceptable no-effect levels from acute data which has some uncertainties, but is valuable for risk assessment of chemical substances. With regard to the still limited and heterogenic data of chronic fish tests, conclusions on aquatic hazard estimation need to be checked and the question arises whether the chronic toxicity to fish can be adequately derived from acute data. A comprehensive dataset including ecotoxicological studies of 203 substances was used to investigate acute-to-chronic ratios (ACR) for both fish and Daphnia. To address potential uncertainty parameters of the approach, the influence of the octanol-water partition coefficient Kow, the mode of action, and the acute toxicity levels on the ACR was evaluated. For industrial chemicals, median ACRs of 12.0 for fish and 8.8 for Daphnia and 90th percentiles of 68.0 and 50.2, respectively, were determined. The ACR for the most sensitive aquatic trophic level (ACRaqu) is derived by comparing the lowest acute and chronic effect value of Daphnia and fish. The median ACRaqu was 9.9, and the 90th percentile was determined to 58.5. The influence of the Kow on the ACR value was analysed and a correlation could not be confirmed. Non-polar narcosis was associated with a lower ACR, whereas polar narcosis was associated with an increased ACR. The authors concluded that the findings suggest that an acute-to-chronic extrapolation factor of 100 is protective for more than 90% of the chemicals. Polar narcosis may represent a predictor for an increased ACR and an increased uncertainty of the approach. The result further suggests that a high Kow is probably not associated with increased ACRs and does not necessarily represent a determinant for chronic toxicity testing within this context.

Authors: May M, Drost W, Germer S, Juffernholz T, Hahn S. ;Full Source: Environmental Science Europe. 2016;28(1):16. Epub 2016 May 12. ;