The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 46 Number 2: 21-33 - October 1984

A publication of the National Speleological Society

A Review of the Toxicity of Twelve Fluorescent Dyes Used for Water Tracing
P.L. Smart


Toxicological information is reviewed for twelve fluorescent dyes used in water tracing, Fluorescent Brightener 28, Tinopal CBS-X, Amino G Acid, Diphenyl Brilliant Flavine 7GFF, Pyranine, Lissamine Yellow FF, Fluorescein, Eosine, Rhodamine WT, Rhodamine B, Sulphorhodamine B and Sulphorhodamine G. Mammalian tests indicate a low level of both acute and chronic toxicity. However, only three tracers could be demonstrated not to provide a carcinogenic or mutagenic hazard. These were Tinopal CBS-X, Fluorescein and Rhodamine WT. Rhodamine B is a known carcinogen and should not be used. In aquatic ecosystems, larval stages of shellfish and algae were the most sensitive. Persistent dye concentractions in tracer studies should not cause problems provided they are below 100 µg/l.

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