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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2002 Jul;21(7):1338-49.

Aquatic toxicity of triclosan.

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Sweet Briar College, Department of Environmental Studies, Virginia 24595, USA.


The aquatic toxicity of triclosan (TCS), a chlorinated biphenyl ether used as an antimicrobial in consumer products, was studied with activated-sludge microorganisms, algae, invertebrates, and fish. Triclosan, a compound used for inhibiting microbial growth, was not toxic to wastewater microorganisms at concentrations less than aqueous solubility. The 48-h Daphnia magna median effective concentration (EC50) was 390 microg/L and the 96-h median lethal concentration values for Pimephales promelas and Lepomis macrochirus were 260 and 370 microg/L, respectively. A no-observed-effect concentration (NOEC) and lowest-observed-effect concentration of 34.1 microg/L and 71.3 microg/L, respectively, were determined with an early life-stage toxicity test with Oncorhynchus mykiss. During a 96-h Scenedesmus study, the 96-h biomass EC50 was 1.4 microg/L and the 96-h NOEC was 0.69 microg/L. Other algae and Lemna also were investigated. Bioconcentration was assessed with Danio rerio. The average TCS accumulation factor over the five-week test period was 4,157 at 3 microg/L and 2,532 at 30 microg/L. Algae were determined to be the most susceptible organisms. Toxicity of a TCS-containing wastewater secondary effluent to P. promelas and Ceriodaphnia was evaluated and no observed differences in toxicity between control and TCS-treated laboratory units were detected. The neutral form of TCS was determined to be associated with toxic effects. Ionization and sorption will mitigate those effects in the aquatic compartment.

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