Restrictions on the production and use of some highly toxic and persistent flame retardants has resulted in the increased use of alternative phosphate flame retardants that are less-well characterized. The brominated organophosphate ester flame retardant, tris(tribromoneopentyl) phosphate (CAS 19186-97-1, molecular formula C15H24Br9O4P, molecular weight 1018.47 g/mol, acronym TTBrNP) is a compound with potential to bioaccumulate and disrupt endocrine functions. To determine the toxicity of TTBrNP, two Canadian native amphibian species, Lithobates sylvaticus and L. pipiens, were acutely (embryos and Gosner stage 25 (GS25) tadpoles) or sub-chronically (GS25-41 tadpoles) exposed to the following nominal concentrations of TTBrNP: 0 (water and solvent controls), 30.6, 61.3, 122.5 and 245.0 μg/L. Note, measured concentrations declined with time (i.e., 118%–30% of nominal). There was high survival for both species after acute and sub-chronic exposures, where 75%–100% survived the exposures, respectively. There were no differences in the occurrence of abnormalities or hatchling size between controls and TTBrNP treatments for either species exposed acutely as embryos or tadpoles. Furthermore, after 30 d of sub-chronic exposure of L. pipiens tadpoles to TTBrNP there were no effects on size, developmental stage, liver somatic index or sex ratio. Bioconcentration factors were low at 26 ± 3.1 L/kg ww in tadpoles from all treatments, suggesting biotransformation or limited bioavailability via aquatic exposures. Thus, using two species of anurans at different early larval stages, we found TTBrNP up to 245 μg/L to have no overt detrimental effects on survival or morphological responses that would suggest fitness-relevant consequences.

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Department of Biology

Robinson, S.A. (Stacey A.), Young, S.D. (Sarah D.), Brinovcar, C. (Cassandra), McFee, A. (Ashley), & De Silva, A.O. (Amila O.). (2020). Ecotoxicity assessment and bioconcentration of a highly brominated organophosphate ester flame retardant in two amphibian species. Chemosphere, 260. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127631