, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 299-310

Mixture Toxicity of Priority Pollutants at No Observed Effect Concentrations (NOECs)

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Environmental exposure situations are often characterised by a multitude of heterogeneous chemicals with ambiguous or unknown modes of action present at low concentrations. While multiple exposure is widely acknowledged, arguments are raised that adverse combined effects might not be evoked by mixtures of substances with dissimilar modes of action and being present at only low concentrations. In this study the combined effect of a multiple mixture composed of structurally dissimilar priority pollutants with mostly unknown modes of action has been investigated using an algal biotest. The concentrations of the components in the mixture equalled statistically estimated, individual no observed effect concentrations (NOECs). The observed mixture toxicity was not only clearly higher than expected for any single substance alone, but also well predictable using the concept of independent action.