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Lack of Predictivity of the Rat Lethality (LD50) Test for Ecological and Human Health Effects


Herbert S. Rosenkranz and Albert R. Cunningham

The relationship between acute toxicity in rats (LD50 values) and indicators of potential health hazards in humans was investigated, based on a chemical population-based paradigm (i.e. the “chemical diversity approach”). These structure–activity relationship-based analyses indicate that high toxicity in rats (i.e. a low LD50 value) is not a good predictor of health effects in humans. In fact, it was found that high acute toxicity to minnows, as well as toxicity to cultured cells, showed significantly greater associations with the potential for health effects than rat LD50 values.