Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.)

Developmental toxicity of mixtures: the water disinfection by-products dichloro-, dibromo- and bromochloro acetic acid in rat embryo culture.

PMID 15336719


The chlorination of drinking water results in production of numerous disinfection by-products (DBPs). One of the important classes of DBPs is the haloacetic acids. We have previously shown that the haloacetic acids (HAs), dichloro (DCA), dibromo (DBA) and bromochloro (BCA) acetic acid are developmentally toxic in mouse whole embryo culture. Human exposure to these contaminants in drinking water would involve simultaneous exposure to all three HAs. This study explores the question of developmental toxicity interactions between these compounds. Gestational day (GD) 9.5 rat embryos were exposed to various concentrations of the three HAs (singly or in combination) for 48 h and then evaluated for dysmorphology. The embryonic effects from exposure to the single compounds and mixtures were evaluated using developmental score (DEVSC) as the parameter of comparison. Concentrations of individual compounds and mixtures were chosen (based on a dose-additivity model) which were predicted to produce scores 10 or 20% lower than control levels. Evaluations were performed on all possible combinations of the three HAs. The HAs were dysmorphogenic and resulted in primarily rotation and heart defects and to a lesser extent prosencephalic, visceral arch, and eye defects. The percent anomalies in the rat were comparable to those previously published for the mouse at comparable toxicant concentration. There was a low incidence of neural tube defects in the rat following exposure to the HAs. The rat neural tube appeared less sensitive to the HAs than did the mouse resulting in a higher rate of neural tube dysmorphology in the mouse. Following exposures to BCA and DBA, alone and in combination, there was a significant incidence of delayed embryonic caudal development with apparent normal development anterior to the second visceral arch. The developmental scores for embryos exposed to combinations of the three compounds, when compared to scores for embryos exposed to the single compounds, indicated that the dose-additivity model adequately predicted the observed toxicity and that the developmental toxicity of these water disinfection by-products appears to be additive in whole embryo culture (WEC).