Laboratory studies were conducted with four early life stages of fathead minnow,Pimephales promelas,to determine the acute toxicity of five firefighting chemical formulations in standardized soft and hard water. Egg, fry, 30-day posthatch, and 60-day posthatch life stages were tested with three fire retardants (Fire-Trol GTS-R, Fire-Trol LCG-R, and Phos-Chek D75-F) and two fire-suppressant foams (Phos-Chek WD-881 and Ansul Silv-Ex). Fry were generally the most sensitive life stage tested, whereas the eggs were the least sensitive life stage. Formulation toxicity was greater in hard water than in soft water for all life stages tested. Fire-suppressant foams were more toxic than the fire retardants. The 96-hr LC50s derived for fathead minnows were rank ordered from the most toxic to the least toxic formulation as follows: Phos-Chek WD-881 (13a??32 mg/liter) > Silv-Ex (19a??32 mg/liter) > Fire-Trol GTS-R (135a??787 mg/liter) > Phos-Chek D75-F (168a??2250 mg/liter) > Fire-Trol LCG-R (519a??6705 mg/liter) (ranges are the lowest and highest 96-hr LC50for each formulation). (C) 1996 Academic Press, Inc.