We have provided a hazard ranking for 19 classes of compounds representing many of the nearly 500 organic compounds identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and walleye (Stizostedion vitreum vitreum) from the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair. We initially made a provisional hazard ranking based on available published and unpublished information on aquatic toxicity, bioaccumulation, occurrence and sources. Acute toxicity tests with Daphnia pulex at 17A°C in reconstituted hard water were performed with 30 compounds representative of the 19 classes that were highest in the provisional ranking. The resulting toxicity data, along with information on the compounds' occurrence in Great Lakes fish and their sources, were ranked and weighted and then used in calculating the revised hazard ranking. The 10 most hazardous classes, in descending order, are as follows (values shown are mean 48-h EC50s, in μ/ml): arene halides (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT), 0.0011; phthalate esters, 0.133; chlorinated camphenes (toxaphene), 0.0082; polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs; e.g., dimethylnaphthalene) and reduced derivatives, 1.01; chlorinated fused polycyclics (e.g., trans-nonachlor), 0.022; nitrogen-containing compounds (e.g., O-methylhydroxyl-amine), 1.35; alkyl halides (e.g., (bromomethyl)cyclohexene), 10.1; cyclic alkanes (e.g., cyclododecane), 20.9; silicon-containing compounds (e.g., dimethyldiethoxy silane), 1.25; and heterocyclic nitrogen compounds (e.g., nicotine), 2.48. We recommend that chronic bioassays be conducted with fish and invertebrates to determine the sublethal effects of the following classes of compounds, for which few toxicity data are available: PAHs, heterocyclic nitrogen compounds, other nitrogen-containing compounds, alkyl halides, cyclic alkanes and silicon-containing compounds. Information from these types of studies will aid researchers in determining the possible causal role these contaminants play in the decline and reproductive impairment of Great Lakes fish.
Additional publication details
Acute bioassays and hazard evaluation of representative contaminants detected in Great Lakes fish