Effects of Chemical Smokes on Flora and Fauna under Field and Laboratory Exposures


Various types of obscurant smokes are used routinely in training by the U.S. Army. Because continued routine use of the smokes could be detrimental to the native flora and fauna at training sites, a preliminary biological and chemical field study of fogoil, hexachloroethane, and tank diesel smokes was conducted. Smoke plumes were sampled and chemically analyzed at distances of 15-150 m from the smoke source where Tradescantia clones 4430 and 03 and the native plant Ambrosia dumosa and the native rodent Dipodomys merriami were exposed for 30 min. In addition, Tradescantia clone 4430 was exposed to tank diesel in the laboratory at concentration levels equivalent to exposure at 15 and 50 m. Tradescantia clones were examined for mutagenic effects indicated by micronuclei induction in developing pollen and pink somatic mutations in stamen hairs. Photosynthetic perturbations were measured in Tradescantia and A. dumosa using variable fluorescence induction. Animals were examined for sister chromatid exchanges and chromosome aberrations. It was found that all of the smokes tested exerted varying degrees of physiological and mutagenic effects in one or more assay system at one or more exposure distance. The studies reported here indicate that exposed ecological systems, or at least components of these systems, are at a higher risk than are unexposed components (e.g., organisms) for several types of damage attributed to obscurant smoke exposure. © 1987.



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© 1987 Elsevier, All rights reserved.