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Iounes N., Guerbet M., Jouany J.M. and J. Hamel. (2000). Acute comparative toxicity of phenol and some chlorophenols on aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Rev. Sci. Eau 13 (2) : 167-173. [short note in French]

Original title: Toxicité aiguë comparée du phénol et d'une série de chlorophénols sur des organismes aquatiques et terrestres.

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Chlorophenols are chemical compounds frequently used for many industrial applications and are subsequently often found in the environment. The aim of this study was firstly to compare the acute toxicities of phenol and five chlorinated compounds towards three organisms : a freshwater protozoan, Colpidium campylum; a terrestrial plant species, Vicia lens; and a mammalian mouse. Our experimental results have been compared with literature data for nine other environmental species.

With the exception of mammals, for which 2,4-dichlorophenol and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol are less dangerous, it appears that toxicity is strictly related to the chlorine substitution level of the phenolic nucleus: the higher the number of chlorine atoms, the more toxic effect is the compound. On the other hand, this study shows that ten species, from the twelve observed, have a similar toxicological response to chlorophenols; only the rat and the mouse have a different sensitivity. However, pentachlorophenol is always the most dangerous compound.


Phenol, chlorophenol, acute toxicity.

Corresponding author

M. Guerbet, UER Médecine Pharmacie, Laboratoire de Toxicologie, 22 boulevard Gambetta, 76183 - Rouen Cedex, FRANCE

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Update: 2006-12-19
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