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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2014 Nov;33(11):2472-8. doi: 10.1002/etc.2696. Epub 2014 Aug 26.

Development of a strontium chronic effects benchmark for aquatic life in freshwater.

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Golder Associates, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.


There are no national water-quality guidelines for strontium for the protection of freshwater aquatic life in North America or elsewhere. Available data on the acute and chronic toxicity of strontium to freshwater aquatic life were compiled and reviewed. Acute toxicity was reported to occur at concentrations ranging from 75 mg/L to 15 000 mg/L. The majority of chronic effects occurred at concentrations above 11 mg/L; however, calculation of a representative benchmark was confounded by results from 4 studies indicating that chronic effects occurred at lower concentrations than all other studies, in 2 cases below background concentrations reported for US and European streams. Two of these studies, including 1 reporting effects below background concentrations, were repeated and found not to be reproducible; chronic effects occurred at considerably higher strontium concentrations than in the original studies. Studies with narrow-mouthed toad and goldfish were not repeated; both studies reported chronic effects below background concentrations, and both studies had been conducted by the authors of 1 of the 2 studies that were repeated and shown to be nonreproducible. Studies by these authors (3 of the 4 confounding studies), conducted over 30 yr ago, lacked detail in reporting of methods and results. It is thus likely that repeating the toad and goldfish studies would also have resulted in a higher strontium effects concentration. A strontium chronic effects benchmark of 10.7 mg/L that incorporates the results of additional testing summarized in the present study is proposed for freshwater environments.


Aquatic; Benchmark; Chronic effect; Strontium

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