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An ecological risk assessment of the acute and chronic toxicity of the herbicide picloram to the threatened bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and the rainbow trout (Onchorhyncus mykiss).


PMID 18784952

Abstract

We conducted acute and chronic toxicity studies of the effects of picloram acid on the threatened bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and the standard coldwater surrogate rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Juvenile fish were chronically exposed for 30 days in a proportional flow-through diluter to measured concentrations of 0, 0.30, 0.60, 1.18, 2.37, and 4.75 mg/L picloram. No mortality of either species was observed at the highest concentration. Bull trout were twofold more sensitive to picloram (30-day maximum acceptable toxic concentration of 0.80 mg/L) compared to rainbow trout (30-day maximum acceptable toxic concentration of 1.67 mg/L) based on the endpoint of growth. Picloram was acutely toxic to rainbow trout at 36 mg/L (96-h ALC50). The acute:chronic ratio for rainbow trout exposed to picloram was 22. The chronic toxicity of picloram was compared to modeled and measured environmental exposure concentrations (EECs) using a four-tiered system. The Tier 1, worst-case exposure estimate, based on a direct application of the current maximum use rate (1.1 kg/ha picloram) to a standardized aquatic ecosystem (water body of 1-ha area and 1-m depth), resulted in an EEC of 0.73 mg/L picloram and chronic risk quotients of 0.91 and 0.44 for bull trout and rainbow trout, respectively. Higher-tiered exposure estimates reduced chronic risk quotients 10-fold. Results of this study indicate that picloram, if properly applied according to the manufacturer's label, poses little risk to the threatened bull trout or rainbow trout in northwestern rangeland environments on either an acute or a chronic basis.

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