Depleted uranium (DU) has been used as a substitute for the fissionable enriched uranium component of atomic weapons tested at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (Los Alamos, NM, USA) since the early 1950s, resulting in considerable concentrations of DU in the soils within the test sites. Although the movement of DU into major aquatic systems has been shown to be minimal, there are many small-order ephemeral streams and areas of standing water in canyons throughout LANL that may be affected by inputs of DU via runoff, erosion, and leaching. Ninety-six-hour acute and 7-d chronic toxicity assays were conducted to measure the toxicity of DU on survival and reproduction of Ceriodaphnia dubia. A 14-d water-only assay was conducted to measure survival and growth of Hyalella azteca. The estimated median lethal concentration (LC50) to produce 50% mortality of the test population for the 96-h Ceriodaphnia dubia assay was 10.50 mg/L. Reproductive effects occurred at a lowest-observable-effect concentration ???3.91 mg/L with a no-observable-effect concentration of 1.97 mg/L. The estimated 14-d LC50 for the Hyalella azteca assay was 1.52 mg/L No significant relationship was detected between growth and DU concentrations. Concentrations at which toxicity effects were observed in this study for both invertebrates exceeded concentrations of total uranium observed in runoff from LANL lands. Thus, it is likely that current runoff levels of uranium do not pose a threat to these types of aquatic invertebrates.
Additional publication details
Effects of depleted uranium on the health and survival of Ceriodaphnia dubia and Hyalella azteca