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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1998 Feb;34(2):177-87.

Effects of Dispersant Treatment on the Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Petroleum Hydrocarbons

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA


The acute effects of both untreated and dispersant-treated Prudhoe Bay crude oil on the early life-stages of three marine species were investigated. Identification of which water-accommodated fraction (undispersed or chemically dispersed) was considered "more toxic" was dependent on species, time, and endpoint (and by inference, test protocol). Generally, the data showed that at roughly equivalent hydrocarbon concentrations untreated oil solutions resulted in higher initial effects (< 1 h) in mysid and topsmelt tests, whereas dispersed oil solutions elicited higher levels of larval abnormality in abalone tests and higher levels of mortality in mysid tests. While differences in test protocols existed among the species tested, topsmelt were the most sensitive species to untreated oil solutions, with mysids being most sensitive to dispersed oil solutions.

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