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Chemosphere. 2006 May;63(5):734-43. Epub 2005 Oct 5.

Assessment of the risk posed by the antifouling booster biocides Irgarol 1051 and diuron to freshwater macrophytes.

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Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.


Antifouling paints are used to reduce the attachment of living organisms to the submerged surfaces of ships, boats and aquatic structures, usually by the release of a biocide. Two 'booster' biocides in common use are the triazine herbicide Irgarol 1051 (N-2-methylthio-4-tert-butylamino-6-cyclopropylamino-s-triazine), and diuron (1-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-3,3-dimethylurea), which are designed to inhibit algal photosynthesis. Previous research has been directed at the effects of these compounds in marine and estuarine environments. In 2001 we sampled the main rivers and shallow freshwater lakes (Broads) of East Anglia UK for Irgarol 1051, its metabolite GS26575 (2-methylamino-4-tert-butylamino-6-amino-s-triazine) and diuron in order to establish the baseline environmental concentrations of these compounds in freshwater systems of eastern UK and to investigate their possible effects on aquatic plants. Irgarol 1051, GS26575 and diuron were found in water samples collected from 21 locations. The highest concentrations were found in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads in May. The rivers Great Ouse, Wissey, Bure and Yare also contained all three compounds, as did the Great Ouse Cut-off Channel. The toxicity of these biocides to three macrophyte species (Apium nodiflorum, Chara vulgaris, and Myriophyllum spicatum) was investigated. Deleterious effects on relative growth rate, the maximum quantum efficiency (Fv/Fm) of photosystem II and, for Apium, root mass production were found. C. vulgaris was generally most sensitive; growth, especially of roots, was strongly affected in A. nodiflorum; growth rate of M. spicatum was sensitive to diuron. No observed effect concentrations (NOEC) were interpolated using standard toxicological analysis. These were compared with measured environmental concentrations (MEC) to determine the ranges of risk quotients (MEC/NOEC). Both Irgarol 1051 and diuron represented significant risks to A. nodiflorum and C. vulgaris in this area.

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