FLUORIDE RISKS: Assessment of the risk posed by fluoride to aquatic communities
Fluoride can be released into the environment during industrial processes. Currently, there are thresholds for drinking water that are intended to ensure the protection of human health (WHO guideline value – 1.5 mg/L). An assessment of the risk to the environment, especially to the aquatic community, could not be carried out by the authorities so far due to lack of data.
This study comprised a presentation of the information available in the literature on the topics of “fluorides in the environment” and “ecotoxicological effects of fluorides” with integration of own data. In the field, data were collected at a polluted site in Hamburg on the distribution of fluorides in the environment and on the diversity of biotic communities compared to a reference station (benthos and water column). Ecotoxicological studies on field samples were carried out with a test battery consisting of bacteria, nematodes, algae, and fish eggs. Chemically analysed fluoride levels and results from the environmental samples were compared with dose-response curves obtained in the laboratory and experiences from the literature.
Recommendations for assessment criteria were derived from the data collected in the laboratory, the information obtained from the field investigations and the literature data and discussed with the authority.