Neurotoxicity of Benzotriazole Ultraviolet Stabilizers in Teleost Fishes: A Review

Toxics. 2024 Feb 2;12(2):125. doi: 10.3390/toxics12020125.


Plastic additives that maintain integrity have been extensively studied for potential toxicity to fish; however, chemicals that protect polymers from (artificial) UV degradation are less studied. Benzotriazole UV stabilizers (BUVSs) are the most widely used UV stabilizers in plastics and are often used in sunscreens, cosmetics, paint, and food packaging. BUVSs can negatively affect aquatic wildlife when released into the environment via plastic degradation. In this review, we summarize the distribution of BUVSs globally and discuss neurotoxicological endpoints measured in fish to understand how these plastic additives can affect the neurological health of teleost fishes. BUVSs have been detected in aquatic environments at concentrations ranging from 0.05 up to 99,200 ng/L. Studies show that BUVSs affect behavioral responses and acetylcholinesterase activity, indicators of neurotoxicity. Our computational analysis using transcriptome data suggests certain pathways associated with neurodegeneration are responsive to exposure to BUVSs, like "Complement Activation in Alzheimer's Disease". Based on our review, we identify some research needs for future investigations: (1) molecular studies in the central nervous system to define precise mechanisms of neurotoxicity; (2) a wider range of tests for assessing aberrant behaviors given that BUVSs can affect the activity of larval zebrafish; and (3) histopathology of the nervous system to accompany biochemical analyses. These data are expected to enhance understanding of the neurotoxicity potential of benzotriazoles and other plastic additives.

Keywords: BUVS; aquatic toxicology; behavior; central nervous system; plastic additives; plasticizers.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research was funded by the University of Florida and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CJM).