The synergistic toxicity of the multiple chemical mixtures: Implications for risk assessment in the terrestrial environment

The combined toxicity of five insecticides (chlorpyrifos, avermectin, imidacloprid, ?-cyhalothrin, and phoxim), two herbicides (atrazine and butachlor) and a heavy metal (cadmium) has been examined with the earthworm acute toxicity test. Toxicological interactions of these chemicals in four, five, six, seven, and eight-component mixtures were studied using the combination-index (CI) equation method. In four-component and five-component mixtures, the synergistic effects predominated at lower effect levels, while the patterns of interactions found in six, seven, and eight-component mixtures displayed synergism. The ?-CY+IMI+BUT+ATR+CPF+PHO combination displayed the most strongly synergistic interaction, with CI values ranging from 0.09 to 0.15. The nature of the interaction changes with the effect level and the relevance of synergistic effects increase with the complexity of the mixture. The CI method was compared with the classical models of concentration addition (CA) and independent action (IA) and we found that the CI method could accurately predict the combined toxicity. The authors concluded that the predicted synergism resulted from co-existence of the pesticides and the heavy metal especially at low effect levels may have important implications in risk assessment for the real terrestrial environment.

Authors: Chen C, Wang Y, Qian Y, Zhao X, Wang Q. ;Full Source: Environment International. 2015 Feb 6;77C:95-105. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.01.014. [Epub ahead of print] ;