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Evidence for a Causal Link between Exposure to an Insecticide Formulation and Declines in Catch of Atlantic Salmon

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We report a case study showing relationships between historical insecticide applications (1973 to 1990) of an aminocarb formulation (MatacilĀ® 1.8D ) containing 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) and catch data for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations. To address the hypothesis that MatacilĀ® 1.8D caused reductions in Atlantic salmon catch, seven epidemiological criteria are used to evaluate causality between the stressor and effect. These criteria include: strength of association; consistency of association; specificity of association; time order; biological gradient; experimental support; and biological plausibility. We conclude that the general weight-of-evidence supporting the seven epidemiological criteria is consistent with a causal relationship between declines in salmon catch and MatacilĀ® 1.8D exposure during parr-smolt transformation (PST). If the effects exerted by 4-NP are due to its activity as a weak estrogen, then hormonal activity stemming from other sources (e.g., domestic sewage, agricultural, industrial) might influence present day salmon populations.
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Keywords: causality; endocrine-disrupting substances; nonylphenol; salmon; smoltification

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environment Canada, National Water Research Institute, P.O. Box 5050, Bington, ON, L7R 4A6, Canada 2: Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Gulf Fisheries Centre, P.O. Box 5030, Moncton, NB, E1C 9B6, Canada

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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