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Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

Diacetone alcohol, a dispersant solvent, contributes to acute toxicity of a fipronil-based insecticide in a passerine bird.


PMID 18155147

Abstract

Fipronil, a phenyl pyrazole pesticide, is aerially applied in eastern Australia to control locust outbreaks, usually as "Adonis 3UL Insecticide" (BASF), an ultra low (UL) volume formulation containing 0.3% active pesticide. We tested the toxicities of technical-grade fipronil, the Adonis 3UL formulation and its components in zebra finch, a native bird at risk of exposure in locust control regions. We estimated oral-dose LD50 by the Up-and-Down method. Under laboratory conditions, we identified unexpectedly high toxicities due exclusively to diacetone alcohol (DAA), a solvent making up 12.5% of the Adonis 3UL formulation. In contrast, finches were asymptomatic when exposed to 0.3% technical grade fipronil dissolved in a minimum amount of acetone. Depending upon the behaviour and persistence of DAA under field conditions, this formulation of Adonis 3UL may pose a far greater threat to the health of small birds and possibly other vertebrates than expected for fipronil alone.

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