Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology

An ecological risk assessment of the acute and chronic effects of the herbicide clopyralid to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

PMID 19777152


Clopyralid (3,6-dichloro-2-pyridinecarboxylic acid) is a pyridine herbicide frequently used to control invasive, noxious weeds in the northwestern United States. Clopyralid exhibits low acute toxicity to fish, including the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and the threatened bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). However, there are no published chronic toxicity data for clopyralid and fish that can be used in ecological risk assessments. We conducted 30-day chronic toxicity studies with juvenile rainbow trout exposed to the acid form of clopyralid. The 30-day maximum acceptable toxicant concentration (MATC) for growth, calculated as the geometric mean of the no observable effect concentration (68 mg/L) and the lowest observable effect concentration (136 mg/L), was 96 mg/L. No mortality was measured at the highest chronic concentration tested (273 mg/L). The acute:chronic ratio, calculated by dividing the previously published 96-h acutely lethal concentration (96-h ALC(50); 700 mg/L) by the MATC was 7.3. Toxicity values were compared to a four-tiered exposure assessment profile assuming an application rate of 1.12 kg/ha. The Tier 1 exposure estimation, based on direct overspray of a 2-m deep pond, was 0.055 mg/L. The Tier 2 maximum exposure estimate, based on the Generic Exposure Estimate Concentration model (GEENEC), was 0.057 mg/L. The Tier 3 maximum exposure estimate, based on previously published results of the Groundwater Loading Effects of Agricultural Management Systems model (GLEAMS), was 0.073 mg/L. The Tier 4 exposure estimate, based on published edge-of-field monitoring data, was estimated at 0.008 mg/L. Comparison of toxicity data to estimated environmental concentrations of clopyralid indicates that the safety factor for rainbow trout exposed to clopyralid at labeled use rates exceeds 1000. Therefore, the herbicide presents little to no risk to rainbow trout or other salmonids such as the threatened bull trout.

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Clopyralid, PESTANAL®, analytical standard