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Arsenic acid (AA) is an inorganic compound of arsenic (As). There are no proprietary studies investigating the bioaccumulation of AA either in aquatic/sediment species or in terrestrial species. However, several studies have been performed to investigate the bioaccumulation of As compounds in various organisms. This section aims to give an overview of the available data on bioaccumulation of As and is based on few review documents:

-United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), 2004, Technical Summary of Information Available on the Bioaccumulation of Arsenic in Aquatic Organisms, Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water, EPA-822-R-03-032.

-World Health Organization (WHO), 2001, Arsenic and arsenic compounds, Environmental Health Criteria 224.

-Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry U.S. Public Health Service (2007). Toxicological profile for arsenic. 559p.

Arsenic bioaccumulation depends on various factors such as the compartment considered (e.g. freshwater, seawater), the exposure concentration and the route of exposure. The range of BCF values for aquatic organisms suggest that As is accumulated to a greater or a lesser degree with Fish BCF being generally below 2000. Biomagnification of As does not appear to be significant.

 

Microorganisms

Phytoplankton takes up arsenate readily and incorporates a small proportion into the cell. Most of the arsenate is reduced, methylated and released in the surrounding media. Phytoplankton readily incorporated dissolved arsenic, with average As residues increasing from 5.7 to 17.7 mg/kg (dw) when cultured for 48-96 h at 25 µg As(V)/L as As.

The accumulation of trivalent and pentavalent As by the green alga, Chlorella vulgaris, isolated from an As contaminated environment has been examined. Bioconcentration factors (BCFs) ranged from 1.4 to 330 with exposure concentrations of 0 to 10,000 mg/L.

Other BCF data for microorganisms are reported here under as cited in the review documents:

Estuarine phytoplankton, Thalassiosira pseudomonas, Skeletonema costatum and Dunaliella tertiolecta (origin of organisms not stated in the review), BCF range: 1,462–3,688, exposure concentration 25 µg As(+5)/L, exposure duration: 48h.

Algae (no more details in the review), BCF : 370 (sand microcosms), BCF: 4300 (lake mud microcosm), exposure concentration: 50 µgAs(+5)/L, exposure duration 5 wk. 

 

Macroalgae

Few data are available indicating that As can be bioaccumulated by macroalgae. One BCF data for macroalgae is reported here under as cited in the review documents:

Aquatic plant, Hydrilla verticillata, BCF range (steady-state) 110–190, exposure concentration: 0.4-0.8 mg As(+5)/L, exposure duration: 16 d.

 

Aquatic invertebrates

Bioaccumulation of As has been studied in several aquatic invertebrate species and are reported in the review documents (WHO Review). Some data are reported here under:

Polychaete, Tharyx marioni, BCF(1) = 4.5 for exposure concentration of 10 mg As(+5)/L, BCF(2) = 111.6 for exposure concentration of 0.01 mg/L, exposure duration: 7 d.

Polychaete, Caulleria caputescocis, BCF = 15.9, exposure concentration: 0.01 mg/L.

Crustacean, Shrimps, BCF < 10, exposure concentration: 20-100 µgAs(+5)/L, exposure duration: 14 d.

Crustacean, Grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio), BCF ND (no bioaccumulation of arsenate), exposure concentration: 25 µgAs(+5)/L.

 

Fish

A large dataset of fish bioaccumulation studies on As has been reviewed by US EPA (2003). The BCF values in this dataset ranged from 0.048 to 1,390.