Toxicity of chlorinated benzenes to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas)

  • Anthony R. Carlson
  • Patricia A. Kosian


The toxicities of several chlorinated benzene compounds to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were determined. Chronic toxicities were estimated from 32–33 day embryo through early juvenile development exposures. The ranges between the highest no observable effect concentration (NOEC) and lowest observed effect concentration (LOEC) were 1,000–2,300, 570–1,000, and 240–410 μg/L for 1,3-dichlorobenzene (1,3-DCB), 1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB), and 1,2,3,4-tetrachlorobenzene (1,2,3,4-TCB), respectively. Pentachlorobenzene (Penta-CB) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were non-toxic at the highest concentrations of 55 and 4.8 μg/L (near water saturation), respectively, that could be maintained in the test chambers. The tissue concentrations associated with the NOEC and LOEC for 1,3-DCB, 1,4-DCB and 1,2,3,4,-TCB were 120–160, 70–100, and 640–1,100 μg of chemical per gram of fish tissue (wet weight), respectively. The mean Penta-CB and HCB tissue concentration obtained at the NOEC of 55 and 4.8 μg/L were 390 and 97 μg/g, respectively. Mean bioconcentration factors obtained in these tests were 97, 110, 2,400, 8,400 and 22,000 for 1,3-DCB, 1,4-DCB, 1,2,3,4-TCB, Penta-CB and HCB, respectively. At a Penta-CB concentration of 130 μg/L (near water saturation) in a six day exposure conducted in the reservoir of the chemical saturating apparatus and control, juvenile fathead minnow behavior was affected and lipid content was reduced when compared to the control. Ninety-six hr LC50 values, obtained with juvenile fish, for 1,3-DCB, 1,4-DCB, and 1,2,3,4-TCB were 7,800, 4,200, and 1,100 (μg/L, respectively.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Water Works Association, Water Pollution Control Federation, American Public Health Association (1971) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 12th ed. New York, 169 pp York, 169 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrows ME, Petrocelli SR, Macek KJ, Caroll JJ (1980) Bioconcentration and elimination of selected water pollutants by bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). In: Hague (ed.) Dynamics, exposure and hazard assessment of toxic chemicals. Ann Arbor Science Publishers, Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  3. Benoit DA, Mattson VR, Olson DL (1982a) A continuous-flow mini-diluter system for toxicity testing. Water Res 16:457–464Google Scholar
  4. Benoit Da, Puglisi FA, Olson DL (1982b) A fathead minnow, (Pimephales promelas), early life stage toxicity test method evaluation and exposure to four organic chemicals. Environ Pollut (Series A) 28:189–197Google Scholar
  5. Buccafusco RJ, Ellis SJ, LeBlanc GA (1980) Acute toxicity of priority pollutants to bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 26:446–452Google Scholar
  6. Call DJ, Brooke LT, Knuth JL, Poirier SH, Hoglund MD (1985) Fish subchronic toxicity prediction model for industrial organic chemicals that produce narcosis. Environ Toxicol Chem (4) 335–341Google Scholar
  7. Call DJ, Brooke LT, Nasim Ahmad, Richter JE (1983) Toxicity and metabolism studies with EPA priority pollutants and related compounds in freshwater organisms. EPA-600/3-83-095. Available from U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service. Order number PB83-263665. 120 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlson AR (EPA Manuscript submitted for publication consideration) Effects of low dissolved oxygen concentration on the toxicity of 1,2,4-trichlorobenzenes to fathead minnow. Bull Environ Contam ToxicolGoogle Scholar
  9. Curtis MW, Copeland TL, Ward CH (1979) Acute toxicity of 12 industrial chemicals to freshwater and saltwater organisms. Water Res 13:137–141Google Scholar
  10. Gingerich WA, Seim WK, Schonbrod RD (1979) An apparatus for the continuous generation of stock solutions of hydrophobic chemicals. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 23:685–689Google Scholar
  11. Hamilton MA, Russo RC, Thurston VA (1977) Trimmed Spearman-Karber method for estimating median lethal concentration in toxicity bioassays. Environ Sci Technol 7:714–719. Correction 12:417Google Scholar
  12. Jan J, Malneric S (1980) Chlorinated benzene residues in fish in Slovenia (Yugoslavia). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 24:824–827Google Scholar
  13. Johnson JW, Finley MT (1980) Handbook of acute toxicity of chemicals to fish and aquatic invertebrates. United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service. Resource publication 13. Washington, DC, 98 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Konemann H, Leeuwen K (1980) Toxicokinetics in fish: Accumulation and elimination of six chlorobenzenes by guppies. Chemosphere 9:3–19Google Scholar
  15. — (1981) Quantitative structure-activity relationships in fish toxicity studies. Toxicology 19:209–221Google Scholar
  16. Lamporski LL, Langhorst ML, Nestrick TJ, Cutie S (1980) Gas-liquid chromatographic determination of chlorinated benzenes and phenols in selected biological matrices. J Assoc Offic Anal Chem 63(1):27–32Google Scholar
  17. Laska AL, Bartell CK, Condie DB, Brown JW, Evans RL, Laseter JL (1978) Acute and chronic effects of hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene in red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarki) and selected fish species. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 43:1–12Google Scholar
  18. LeBlanc GA (1980) Acute toxicity of priority pollutants to water flea (Daphnia magna). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 24:684–691Google Scholar
  19. Mayes MA, Alexander HC, Dill DC (1983) A study to assess the influence of age on the response of fathead minnows in static toxicity tests. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 31:139–147Google Scholar
  20. McKim JM (1977) Evaluation of tests with early life stages of fish for predicting long-term toxicity. J Fish Res Board Can 34(8): 1148–1154Google Scholar
  21. Richter JE, Peterson SF, Kleiner CF (1983) Acute and chronic toxicity of chlorinated benzenes, chlorinated ethanes, and tetrachioroethylene to (Daphnia magna). Arch Environ Contain Toxicol 12:679–684Google Scholar
  22. Steel RGD, Torrie JH (1960) Principles and procedures of statistics. McGraw Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1980) Ambient water quality criteria for chlorinated benzenes. EPA-440/5-80-028. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22151Google Scholar
  24. - (1985) Guidelines for deriving numerical national water quality criteria for the protection of aquatic organisms and their uses. Available from U.S. Department of Commerce. National Technical Information Service. Order number PB85-227079Google Scholar
  25. The Committee on Methods for Toxicity Tests with Aquatic Organisms: Methods for acute tests with fish, macroinvertebrates, and amphibians. Ecological Research Series EPA-660/3-75-009 (1975). Available from the Department of Commerce. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22151Google Scholar
  26. Veith GD, Kuehl DW, Leonard EN, Puglisi FA, Lemke AE (1979) Fish, wildlife, and estuaries. Polychlorinated biphenyls and other organic chemical residues in fish from major watersheds of the United States, 1976. Pestic Monit J 13(1):1–11Google Scholar
  27. Veith GD, Call JT, Brooke LT (1983) Structure-toxicity relationships for the fathead minnow, (Pimephales promelas): Narcotic industrial chemicals. Canadian J Fish Aquat Sci 40(6):743–748Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony R. Carlson
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Kosian
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Research Laboratory-DuluthU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyDuluth
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-SuperiorSuperior

Personalised recommendations