Effects of metal mixtures on aquatic biota: A review of observations and methods

  • Norwood W
  • Borgmann U
  • Dixon D
 et al. 
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A brief review of the historical development of metal mixture interaction analyses is presented. The two major classifications of mixture models are outlined, the "Concentration Addition" and the "Response Addition" approaches. Within these two categories, a number of graphical, mathematical and statistical methods have been used, such as the toxic unit approach, relative potencies, toxicity equivalence factors, and dose-response relationships that have been described using several methods such as probit, logit, and regression analyses. A database was generated to evaluate the frequency of occurrence of less than additive, strictly additive, and more than additive responses to metal mixture effects reported in the literature. The three responses occurred at 43, 27, and 29%, respectively. The database is available electronically from the lead author. The research required to determine the most appropriate methods to quantify the effects of metal mixtures in an ecological risk assessment (ERA) framework is discussed. Until this research is completed, ERAs should use existing models such as the toxic unit or the effects addition approach. Bioaccumulation measurements by organisms for which the accumulation to response relationship is known would also be a useful complement.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Interactions
  • Metals mixtures
  • Models

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