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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1988 Jun;15(3):289-97.

Toxicity and bioaccumulation of chlorophenols in earthworms, in relation to bioavailability in soil.

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  • 1National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Hygiene, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


The acute toxicity of five chlorophenols for two earthworm species was determined in two sandy soils differing in organic matter content and the results were compared with adsorption data. Adsorption increased with increasing organic matter content of the soils, but for tetra- and pentachlorophenol was also influenced by soil pH. Earthworm toxicity was significantly higher in the soil with a low level of organic matter. This difference disappeared when LC50 values were recalculated to concentrations in soil solution using adsorption data. Eisenia fetida andrei showed LC50 values lower than those of Lumbricus rubellus although bioaccumulation was generally higher in the latter species. Toxicity and bioaccumulation based on soil solution concentrations increased with increasing lipophilicity of the chlorophenols. The present results indicate that the toxicity and bioaccumulation and therefore the bioavailability of chlorophenols in soil to earthworms are dependent on the concentration in soil solution and can be predicted on the basis of adsorption data. Both the toxicity of and bioaccumulation data on chlorophenols in earthworms demonstrated surprisingly good agreement with those on chlorophenols in fish.

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