Veterinary pharmaceutical products such as antibacterial agents and antiparasitics are widely used to control diseases and promote production in the agricultural sector. Exposure of non-target organisms are a likely result of using manure from treated live stocks or from dung dropped on the field by grazing animals. The aim of this study was to determine the toxic threshold levels of three antibacterial agents (tiamulin, olanquindox and metronidazole) and one anthelmintic (ivermectin) to two species of soil dwelling organisms (springtails and enchytraeids), that are often found in bio-solids such as manure or dung. The antibacterial agents were not toxic to adults and effects on reproduction occurred generally above concentrations normally found in soil or dung. The threshold values for toxicity (10% reduced reproduction or EC10values) were in the range of 61-111 mg kg-1dry soil for springtails and 83-722 mg kg-1dry soil for enchytraeids. Ivermectin was significantly more toxic with EC10values of 0.26 mg kg-1dry soil for the springtails and 14 mg kg-1dry soil for the enchytraeids. A comparison of these results with rough estimates of likely and worse case environmental concentrations indicates a potential risk of ivermectin to non-target species such as springtails and enchytraeids, whereas direct toxic effect of antibacterial agents is very unlikely to occur at environmental realistic concentrations. However, indirect effects of antibacterial agents driven through changes in the food web cannot be abolished at this stage. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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