Effects of Chlorinated Solvents on Four Species of North American Amphibians
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Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning and degreasing solvent, can enter groundwater through accidental leaks or spills, and concentrations as high as 75 mg/L have been reported in Canadian aquifers. Amphibians in wetlands receiving contaminated groundwater may be exposed to PCE and its degradation products, but little information is available on the impacts of these compounds on indigenous amphibian species. Acute (96-h static renewal) exposures to PCE and its major degradation products, trichloroethylene (TCE) and cis- and trans-dichloroethylene, were conducted on embryos of four North American amphibian species: wood frogs (Rana sylvatica), green frogs (R. clamitans), American toads (Bufo americanus), and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum). Subsequently, chronic exposures to PCE and TCE were conducted with the larvae of American toads. Both PCE and TCE were teratogenic to amphibian embryos; median effective concentrations (EC50s) for developmental deformities produced by PCE and TCE exposure for wood frogs and green frogs were 12 and 40 mg/L, respectively. Embryonic survivorship, however, was not compromised at these concentrations. American toads were less sensitive; the EC50 for developmental abnormalities was not attained at the highest test concentrations, 45 and 85 mg/L PCE and TCE, respectively. These results are pertinent in assessing the impact of groundwater pollution on an aquifer-fed wetland.
KeywordsAmphibian Species Tetrachloroethylene Wood Frog Green Frog Embryonic Survivorship
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