Chronic toxicity of the synthetic hormine 17-ethinylestradiol to Chronomus tentans and Hyalella azteca
The chronic toxicity of the synthetic hormone 17 -ethinylestradiol (EE2) was investigated in two benthic invertebrates, the midge Chironomus tentans and the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca, in life-cycle water-only assays. In C. tentans, a 50% decrease in emergence was observed at a concentration of 1.5 mg/L; emergence was a more sensitive endpoint than survival, growth, or biomass. Reproduction was not significantly affected by EE2 exposure until a concentration of 3.1 mg/L, where emergence, and therefore reproduction, did not occur. In contrast, reproduction was the most sensitive endpoint in H. azteca (50% decrease in reproduction observed at a concentration of 0.36 mg/L). The sensitivity of the F1 generation to EE2 was also investigated with H. azteca, but was not different from the F0 generation. The data from the present study were combined with those from previous 10-d toxicity assays, to derive acute to chronic toxicity ratios (ACRs) for EE2. The ACRs calculated for EE2 were 13 for C. tentans and 16 for H. azteca, indicating that the application factors currently used in ecological risk assessment for the derivation of chronic toxicity are protective and conservative for these organisms. The results of the present study suggest that chronic toxicity was not mediated by disruption of endocrine pathways. Using a hazard quotient approach, the risk associated with sublethal exposure to EE2 was K1 for H. azteca and C. tentans, indicating that adverse effects are not expected, and that environmental exposure to EE2 likely poses a low risk to benthic invertebrates.