Acute toxicity and effects analysis of endosulfan sulfate to freshwater fish species

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2011 Feb;60(2):281-9. doi: 10.1007/s00244-010-9623-1. Epub 2010 Dec 3.


Endosulfan sulfate is a persistent environmental metabolite of endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide-acaricide presently registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. There is, however, limited acute fish toxicity data for endosulfan sulfate. This study determines the acute toxicity (LC₅₀s and LC₁₀s) of endosulfan sulfate to three inland Florida native fish species (mosquitofish [Gambusia affinis]; least killifish [Heterandria formosa]; and sailfin mollies [Poecilia latipinna]) as well as fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Ninety-six-h acute toxicity tests were conducted with each fish species under flow-through conditions. For all of the above-mentioned fish species, 96-h LC₅₀ estimates ranged from 2.1 to 3.5 μg/L endosulfan sulfate. The 96-h LC₁₀ estimates ranged from 0.8 to 2.1 μg/L endosulfan sulfate. Of all of the fish tested, the least killifish appeared to be the most sensitive to endosulfan sulfate exposure. The above-mentioned data were combined with previous acute toxicity data for endosulfan sulfate and freshwater fish for an effects analysis. The effects analysis estimated hazardous concentrations expected to exceed 5, 10, and 50% of the fish species' acute LC₅₀ or LC₁₀ values (HC₅, HC₁₀, and HC₅₀). The endosulfan sulfate freshwater-fish acute tests were also compared with the available freshwater-fish acute toxicity data for technical endosulfan. Technical endosulfan is a mixture of α- and β-endosulfan. The LC₅₀s had a wider range for technical endosulfan, and their distribution produced a lower HC₁₀ than for endosulfan sulfate. The number of freshwater-fish LC₅₀s for endosulfan sulfate is much smaller than the number available for technical endosulfan, reflecting priorities in examining the toxicity of the parent compounds of pesticides. The toxicity test results and effects analyses provided acute effect values for endosulfan sulfate and freshwater fish that might be applied in future screening level ecologic risk assessments. The effects analyses also discussed several deficiencies in conventional methods for setting water-quality criteria and determining ecologic effects from acute toxicity tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae / metabolism*
  • Cyprinodontiformes / metabolism*
  • Endosulfan / analogs & derivatives*
  • Endosulfan / analysis
  • Endosulfan / toxicity
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Florida
  • Fresh Water / chemistry
  • Insecticides / analysis
  • Insecticides / toxicity
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Species Specificity
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Insecticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • endosulfan sulfate
  • Endosulfan