Experimental Factors That May Affect Toxicity of Cadmium to Freshwater Organisms

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The effects of exposure duration, test organism, and test endpoint on the toxicity of cadmium to a variety of freshwater species were evaluated. Toxicity of cadmium was assessed by monitoring the survival and reproduction of Ceriodaphnia dubia Richard; the survival of Daphnia magna Straus; and the survival and growth of Hyalella azteca Saussure, Chironomus tentans Fabricius, and Pimephales promelas Rafinesque. Organisms were exposed in static systems for 48 h, 96 h, 7 d, 10 d, and 14 d to determine acute and chronic toxicity. Relative sensitivities of test organisms exposed to aqueous cadmium varied with test duration and test endpoint. In general, H. azteca was the most sensitive organism tested, followed in decreasing sensitivity by P. promelas, C. dubia, D. magna, and C. tentans. Mortality of C. dubia and D. magna was consistent up to 7 d, after which little additional mortality occurred. Effects of test duration on cadmium toxicity were most pronounced for H. azteca and C. tentans, with mortality and growth becoming increasingly sensitive with increasing test duration.