An assessment of the potential adverse properties of fluorescent tracer dyes used for groundwater tracing


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October 1995


The potential ecotoxicity of fluorescent dyes used in tracing, and their possible effects on human health, were evaluated by reviewing available toxicological information for 12 dyes — fluorescein, Lissamine Flavine FF, Rhodamine WT, Rhodamine B, Sulpho Rhodamine G, Sulpho Rhodamine B, eosin, pyranine, Phorwite BBH Pure, Tinopal 5BM GX, Tinopal CBS-X, and Diphenyl Brilliant Flavine 7GFF — and a dye-intermediate, amino G acid. This evaluation used available toxicological information, test data on analogous substances, and mathematical expressions for biological activity. Based on set criteria for human health and acute ecotoxicity, the evaluation indicated that these tracers have low to moderate levels of concern. The use of these tracers for the study of groundwater flow is appropriate if consideration is given to the overall human health and environmental effects. Their use in the environment requires tracer concentrations not exceeding 1–2 mg 1−1 persisting for a period in excess of 24 h in the groundwater at the point of groundwater withdrawal or discharge. A simple calculated potential dose was used in a comparison of the estimated acute toxicity of Rhodamine WT in rats to the known acute oral toxic dose in humans for several known acutely toxic chemicals. This comparison showed that none of the fluorescent dyes evaluated would present an acutely toxic threat at or substantially above the recommended 2 mg 1−1 concentration.


Rhodamine, Diphenyl, Flavine, Groundwater Withdrawal, Analogous Substance

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