Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

Increased frequency and severity of developmental deformities in rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) embryos exposed to road deicing salts (NaCl & MgCl2).

PMID 23207496


Road-side aquatic ecosystems in North America are annually polluted with millions of tons of road deicing salts, which threaten the survival of amphibians which live and breed in these habitats. While much is known of the effects of NaCl, little is known of the second most-commonly used deicer, MgCl(2), which is now used exclusively in parts of the continent. Here we report that environmentally relevant concentrations of both NaCl and MgCl(2) cause increased incidence of developmental deformities in rough-skinned newt hatchlings that developed embryonically in these salts. In addition, we provide some of the first quantification of severity of different deformities, and reveal that increased salt concentrations increase both deformity frequency and severity. Our work contributes to the growing body of literature that suggests salamanders and newts are particularly vulnerable to salt, and that the emerging pollutant, MgCl(2) is comparable in its effects to the more traditionally-used NaCl.