Fluoride Action Network


Spent pot-liner (SPL) is a hazardous solid waste produced by the aluminum industry. Although its composition may vary, fluoride and cyanide salts as well as aluminum are predominant components. A seed-germination and root-elongation test was performed with Lactuca sativa seeds as a test system. SPL induced decrease of seed germination rate and root elongation. The concentration of 26.5 g/L SPL was established from a regression curve as the IC50 (inhibition concentration 50%). Through chemical analyses, the concentrations of fluoride, cyanide and aluminum in SPL solutions of 26.5 g/L (IC50), 39.75 g/L (1.5 IC50) and 13.25 g/L (0.5 IC50) were determined. Further, a cell-cycle test was conducted with root tips of L. sativa exposed to these same SPL solutions. All test chemicals presented toxic effects on meristematic cells of L. sativa. Aluminum was identified as the SPL component mainly responsible for reduction of the mitotic index. Chromosomal alterations resulted from the interactions among the three main chemical components of SPL, without a clear predominantly responsible agent. Induction of condensed nuclei was mainly due to effects of aluminum and fluoride, and may serve as an indicator of induced cell death.