In this study, 9 chemicals were chosen from a recent report on surface water concentrations of a variety of xenobiotics to test the hypothesis that the toxicity of chemical mixtures could be estimated using a model based on the toxicity of the individual chemicals. Concentration-response curves for the endpoints of lifespan, growth rate, and fecundity were generated for each chemical experimentally using the crustacean, Daphnia magna. From this data, a mathematical model for the combined toxicity of these chemicals was generated that merged the concepts of concentration addition and independent joint action. Toxicity of a mixture was modeled at various levels at which the ratio of the chemicals within the mixture was maintained at that reported for median detected environmental levels. Toxicity of the mixture was then determined experimentally and compared to model predictions. The model accurately predicted the most sensitive endpoint, as well as the lowest toxic effect level of the mixture. Results demonstrated that, for this mixture of chemicals, toxicity was not influenced significantly by interactions among the chemicals and a single constituent dominated toxicity. According to model predictions and experimental results, the median detected environmental concentrations of chemicals constituting this mixture provided no margin of safety.
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Vol. 1 • No. 2