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Environmental fate & pathways

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In water, under aerobic conditions, a negative result has been reported for a ready biodegradability test according to OECD TGD 301 C (MITI(I) test method), but at the high concentration used in the test, toxicity to bacteria may have prevented biodegradation. In an article reporting biodegradation studies on US priority chemicals, Tabak et al. (1981) have observed a rapid primary biodegradation at 5 and 10 mg/L. Under anaerobic conditions, several studies have reported metabolization and mineralisation of CTC and it can be concluded that it is rapidly biodegradable in the corresponding compartments, as well as in digesters.

 

A detailed review of biodegradability of chlorinated aliphatic compounds has been done by J.A. Field and R. Sierra-Alvarez from University of Arizona and has been published by EuroChlor in 2004. With respect to CTC, this review reports several observations made under real environmental conditions such as landfills and in bioreactors. It is concluded that CTC is almost completely biodegraded under anaerobic conditions by co-metabolism.

 

In view of the limited evidence for biodegradation in aerobic (oxidative) conditions but the observed mineralisation in anaerobic (reductive) conditions, it is proposed to conclude that carbon tetrachloride is inherently biodegradable.