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Description of key information

Rossiello (2013) performed a combined repeated dose toxicity study with reproduction/developmental toxicity screening test via oral route in rats with the read across substance zirconium acetate (another 'water soluble' zirconium compound) according to OECD guideline 422 (GLP). A NOAEL of >=1000 mg/kg bw/day (expressed as zirconium acetate anhydrous) was derived. No adverse effects were reported in this study. This study was scored as K2 study (reliable with restrictions), because of read across purposes and was considered as the key study.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Repeated dose toxicity: via oral route - systemic effects

Link to relevant study records
Reference
Endpoint:
short-term repeated dose toxicity: oral
Remarks:
combined repeated dose and reproduction / developmental screening
Type of information:
migrated information: read-across based on grouping of substances (category approach)
Adequacy of study:
key study
Study period:
2012-12-06 to 2013-02-07
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: see 'Remark'
Remarks:
Study performed under Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and according to OECD Guideline 422 (Combined Repeated Dose Toxicity Study with the Reproduction / Developmental Toxicity Screening Test) without significant deviation. A maximum reliability score of Klimisch 2 (reliable with restrictions) was assigned because the study is used for read across purposes in this dossier.
Reason / purpose:
reference to same study
Reason / purpose:
reference to other study
Qualifier:
according to
Guideline:
OECD Guideline 422 (Combined Repeated Dose Toxicity Study with the Reproduction / Developmental Toxicity Screening Test)
Deviations:
no
GLP compliance:
yes (incl. certificate)
Limit test:
no
Species:
rat
Strain:
Sprague-Dawley
Sex:
male/female
Details on test animals and environmental conditions:
TEST ANIMALS
- Source: Charles River Italia S.p.A., Calco (Lecco), Italy
- Age at study initiation: 6 to 7 weeks
- Weight at study initiation: 204.5 to 212.8 g (males); 164.8 to 180.2 g (females)
- Fasting period before study: none
- Housing: From arrival to pairing, animals were housed up to 5 of one sex to a cage, in polisulphone solid bottomed cages measuring 59.5 x 38 x 20 cm. Nesting material was provided inside suitable bedding bags and changed at least twice a week. During mating, animals were housed one male to one female in clear polycarbonate cages measuring approximately 43 x 27 x 18 cm with a stainless steel mesh lid and floor. Each cage tray held absorbent material which was inspected and changed daily. After mating, the males were re-caged as they were before mating while females were transferred to individual solid bottomed cages for the gestation period, birth and lactation.
- Diet: ad libitum, except prior to drawing of blood for clinical chemistry examinations
- Water: ad libitum
- Acclimation period: 2 weeks

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS
- Temperature (°C): 22 +/- 2
- Humidity (%): 55 +/- 15%
- Air changes (per hour): 15 to 20
- Photoperiod (hours dark / hours light): 12/12

Route of administration:
oral: gavage
Vehicle:
other: purified water
Details on oral exposure:
PREPARATION OF DOSING SOLUTIONS
The required amount of zirconium acetate solution (containing 40.7% of zirconium acetate anhydrous) was dissolved in the vehicle (purified water) to obtain final concentrations of 10, 30 and 100 mg/mL. The formulations were prepared daily or up to 7 days before dosing according to stability data. The concentrations were calculated and expressed in terms of zirconium acetate content (40.7%).

VEHICLE
- Concentration in vehicle: 10, 30, 100 mg/L (expressed as active compound content)
- Amount of vehicle (if gavage): 10 mL/kg body weight (for males, dose volumes were adjusted once per week for each animal according to the last recorded body weight; for females, dose volumes were calculated according to individual body weight on days 0, 7, 14 and 20 post coitum and on day 1 post partum, thereafter individual dose volumes remained constant)
- Purity: not required
Analytical verification of doses or concentrations:
yes
Details on analytical verification of doses or concentrations:
Prior to commencement of treatment, analysis was performed to confirm that the proposed formulation procedure was acceptable (check of concentration). Samples of dosing formulations prepared on Weeks 1 and 5 [when 10 females per group were present] were also analysed to verify the concentrations. Samples of the formulations were collected and sent at ambient temperature to the analytical laboratory. Chemical analyses were carried out according to an Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) method.
Duration of treatment / exposure:
- Males were treated two weeks prior to pairing, throughout pairing and thereafter through the day before scheduled sacrifice (32 days of dosing).
- Females were treated two weeks prior to pairing, throughout pairing until day 3 post partum or the day before scheduled sacrifice (up to 50 days of dosing).
Frequency of treatment:
Once daily
Remarks:
Doses / Concentrations:
100, 300, 1000 mg/kg bw/day
Basis:
other: actual ingested (zirconium acetate anhydrous)
Remarks:
Doses / Concentrations:
53, 159, 530 mg/kg bw/day
Basis:
other: actual ingested (zirconium)
No. of animals per sex per dose:
10
Control animals:
yes, concurrent vehicle
Details on study design:
- Dose selection rationale: Dose levels were selected in consultation with the Sponsor based on information from a non-GLP 2 week preliminary toxicity study (RTC Study no. 94150EXT).
- Rationale for animal assignment: Rats were allocated to groups by computerised stratified randomisation to give approximately equal initial group mean body weights.
- Rationale for selecting satellite groups: not applicable (satellite group not included)
- Post-exposure recovery period in satellite groups: not applicable (satellite group not included)
Positive control:
None
Observations and examinations performed and frequency:
CAGE SIDE OBSERVATIONS: Yes
- Time schedule: Animals were checked each morning and afternoon for mortality.

DETAILED CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS: Yes
- Time schedule: Once before commencement of treatment and at least once daily during the study, each animal was observed and any clinical sign was recorded. Observations were performed at the same time interval each day, the interval was selected taking into consideration the presence of post-dose reactions.

BODY WEIGHT: Yes
- Time schedule for examinations: Males were weighed weekly from allocation to termination. Females were weighed weekly from allocation to positive identification of mating and on Days 0, 7, 14 and 20 post coitum. Dams were also weighed on Days 1 and 4 post partum.

FOOD CONSUMPTION: Yes
- Time schedule for examinations: weekly during the pre-mating period starting from allocation. Individual food consumption for the females was measured on Days 7, 14 and 20 post coitum starting from Day 0 post coitum and on Day 4 post partum starting from Day 1 post partum.
- Parameters checked: the weight of food consumed by each cage of males and females

OPHTHALMOSCOPIC EXAMINATION: No

HAEMATOLOGY: Yes
- Time schedule for collection of blood: as part of the sacrificial procedure
- Anaesthetic used for blood collection: Yes (isofluorane)
- Animals fasted: Yes
- How many animals: 5 per sex (females with viable litters if possible)
- Parameters checked: haematocrit; haemoglobin; red blood cell count; reticulocyte count; mean red blood cell volume; mean corpuscular haemoglobin; mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration; white blood cell count; differential leucocyte count (neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, large unstained cells); platelets

CLINICAL CHEMISTRY: Yes
- Time schedule for collection of blood: as part of the sarificial procedure
- Anaesthetic used for blood collection: Yes (isofluorane)
- Animals fasted: Yes
- How many animals: 5 per sex (females with viable litters i possible)
- Parameters checked: alkaline phosphatase; alanine aminotransferase; aspartate aminotransferase; gamma-glutamyltransferase; urea; creatinine; glucose; triglycerides; bile acids; phosphorus; total bilirubin; total cholesterol; total protein; albumin; globulin; A/G Ratio; sodium; potassium; calcium; chloride

URINALYSIS: No

NEUROBEHAVIOURAL EXAMINATION: Yes
- Time schedule for examinations: for males 5 days before necropsy and for females on Day 3 post partum.
- Dose groups that were examined: from each group, 5 males and 5 females were randomly selected.
- Battery of functions tested: grip strength; sensory reactivity to stimuli; motor activity assessment

FUNCTIONAL OBSERVATION BATTERY TESTS
- Time schedule for examinations: once before commencement of treatment and at least once a week thereafter, each animal was given a detailed clinical examination.
- Battery of functions tested: removal (from cage); handling reactivity; lachrymation; palpebral closure; salivation; piloerection; rearing; spasms; myoclonia; mobility impairment; arousal (animal activity); vocalisation; stereotypies; unusual respiratory pattern; bizarre behaviour; urination; defecation; tremors; gait.
Sacrifice and pathology:
SACRIFICE: Yes
- Males were killed after the mating of all females (after 32 days of treatment period).
- Females with live pups were killed on Day 4 post partum while females which did not give birth 25 days after positive identification of mating were killed shortly (Day 27 post coitum).
- All parental animals were killed by exsanguination under isofluorane anaesthesia.
- Pups were euthanised by intraperitoneal injection of thiopenthal.

TISSUE PRESERVATION: Yes
- Procedure: Samples of tissues were fixed and preserved in 10% neutral buffered formalin (except eyes, testes and epididymides which were fixed in modified Davidson's fluid and preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol).
- Organs / tissues preserved: all abnormalities; adrenal glands; bone marrow (from sternum); brain; caecum; colon; duodenum; heart; ileum; jejunum (including Peyer’s patches); kidneys; liver; lungs (including mainstem bronchi); lymph nodes - cervical ; lymph nodes - mesenteric; nasal cavity; oesophagus; pituitary gland; prostate gland; rectum; sciatic nerve; spinal column; spinal cord (cervical, thoracic, lumbar); spleen; stomach; thymus (where present); thyroid ; trachea; urinary bladder
- Reproductive organs / tissues preserved: epididymides; ovaries with oviducts; seminal vesicles with coagulating glands; testes; uterus - cervix; vagina.

GROSS PATHOLOGY: Yes
- Time schedule for examinations: Terminal sacrifice. All animals.
- Organs / tissues examined: All parent animals and pups wee examined macroscopically for any structural changes.
- Reproductive organs / tissues examined: Sexual organs were specifically examined. The number of implantation sites and corpora lutea was recorded for all dams with litters. The uteri of non-pregnant females were placed in a solution of ammonium sulfide to visualize possible hemorrhagic areas of implantation sites.

HISTOPATHOLOGY: Yes
- Time schedule for examinations: Tissues were collected from 5 males and 5 females (randomly selected) in the control and high dose group killed at terminal sacrifice and from all animals with abnormalities in all dose groups.
- Procedure: Tissues were dehydrated and embedded in paraffin wax, sections of the tissues were cut at 5 micrometer thickness and stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Testes and epididymides were cut at 2-3 micrometer thickness and stained with Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) and morphological evaluation of the seminiferous epithelium (staging of spermatogenic cycle) was performed.
- Organs / tissues examined: all abnormalities; adrenal glands; bone marrow (from sternum); brain; caecum; colon; duodenum; heart; ileum; jejunum (including Peyer’s patches); kidneys; liver; lungs (including mainstem bronchi); lymph nodes - cervical ; lymph nodes - mesenteric; pituitary gland; prostate gland; rectum; sciatic nerve; spinal cord (cervical, thoracic, lumbar); spleen; stomach; thymus (where present); thyroid ; trachea; urinary bladder
- Reproductive organs / tissues examined: epididymides; ovaries with oviducts; seminal vesicles with coagulating glands; testes; uterus - cervix; vagina

ORGAN WEIGHT: Yes
- Time schedule for examinations: Organs were collected from all animals surviving the scheduled test period.
- Procedure: Organs were dissected free of fat and weighed. The ratios of organ weight to body weight were calculated for each animal.
- Organs / tissues examined: adrenal glands; brain; heart; kidneys; liver; prostate gland; spleen; thymus
- Reproductive organs / tissues examined: epididymides; ovaries with oviducts; testes
Other examinations:
VAGINAL SMEARS: Yes
Vaginal smears were taken daily in the morning starting two weeks before pairing until a positive identification of copulation was made. The vaginal smear data were examined to determine anomalies of the oestrous cycle and pre-coital interval (i.e., the number of nights paired prior to the detection of mating).

REPRODUCTIVE INDICES: Yes
- The following reproductive indices were calculated: copulatory index; fertility index; pre-coital interval (mean number of days between pairing and mating); pre-implantation loss; pre-birth loss; pup loss at birth; cumulative pup loss on Day 4 post partum; sex ratios on Day 4 psot partum.

SPERMATOGENIC CYCLE: Yes
- A detailed qualitative examination of the testes was performed in control and high dose groups. The evaluation, taking into account the tubular stages of the spermatogenic cycle, was conducted in order to identify treatment-related effects, such as missing germ cell layers or types, retained spermatids, multinucleated or apoptotic germ cells and sloughing of spermatogenic cells into the lumen.
- Seminiferous tubules were evaluated with respect to their stage in the spermatogenic cycle and to the integrity of the various cell types within the different stages.
Statistics:
- Standard deviations were calculated as appropriate. For continuous variables the significance of the differences amongst group means was assessed by Dunnett’s test or a modified t test, depending on the homogeneity of data.
- Statistical analysis of histopathological findings was carried out by means of the non-parametric Kolmogorov-Smirnov test if n was more than 5.
- The non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance was used for the other parameters. Intergroup differences between the control and treated groups were assessed by the non-parametric version of the Williams test.
- The criterion for statistical significance was p<0.05
Clinical signs:
no effects observed
Mortality:
no mortality observed
Body weight and weight changes:
no effects observed
Food consumption and compound intake (if feeding study):
no effects observed
Food efficiency:
no effects observed
Water consumption and compound intake (if drinking water study):
not examined
Ophthalmological findings:
not examined
Haematological findings:
no effects observed
Clinical biochemistry findings:
effects observed, treatment-related
Description (incidence and severity):
(effects cannot conclusively be attributed to treatment)
Urinalysis findings:
not examined
Behaviour (functional findings):
no effects observed
Organ weight findings including organ / body weight ratios:
no effects observed
Gross pathological findings:
no effects observed
Histopathological findings: non-neoplastic:
effects observed, treatment-related
Description (incidence and severity):
(toxicologically irrelevant)
Histopathological findings: neoplastic:
not examined
Details on results:
CLINICAL SIGNS AND MORTALITY
- No mortality occurred in the study.
- No clinical findings of toxicological significance were observed. Hair loss was occasionally recorded throughout the study including control animals. One female of the mid-dose group had salivation on Day 20 post coitum. One high dose female, that did not give birth, showed prolapse of the uterus on Day 27 post coitum. Another high dose female had rales during pairing.

BODY WEIGHT AND WEIGHT GAIN
- Body weight and body weight gain did not show relevant differences between groups. In particular, body weight gain was in some occasions higher in treated groups compared to the control group.

HAEMATOLOGY
- No changes of toxicological relevance were recorded.
- A statistically significant decrease of lymphocytes recorded in some females dosed with 300 mg/kg bw/day (up to 42% below controls) was not dose-related and, therefore, considered incidental.
- No changes were observed in the coagulation test.

CLINICAL CHEMISTRY
- A number of males dosed with 1000 mg/kg bw/day showed a slight decrease of protein and globulin (approximately 10%). Due to the low severity, these changes were considered of no toxicological importance.
- In addition, one animal showed high triglycerides (6.2 fold compared with controls). Due to the low incidence, this finding cannot be conclusively attributed to treatment; however, it also cannot be ruled out that it was related to treatment.

NEUROBEHAVIOUR
- Motor activity recorded at the end of treatment did not show significant differences between control and treated groups.

ORGAN WEIGHTS
- A slight significant reduction of epididymides weight occurred in the high-dose group; however, this reduction was found to be related to the higher terminal body weight in the high-dose group compared to controls. In addition, this change was minimal and no histological associated-findings were found. Therefore, it was considered of no toxicological relevance.

TERMINAL BODY WEIGHT AND ORGAN WEIGHTS
Body weight at term and organ weights did not show differences of toxicological relevance.

HISTOPATHOLOGY: NON-NEOPLASTIC
- Minimal, focal vacuolation of squamous epithelium (limiting ridge) of the non-glandular region of the stomach was observed in the high and mid-dose males with an increased incidence in the high dose males and similar severity levels across treatment groups. However, such gastric change was noted only in males, in a specific zone of the forestomach (limiting ridge) with focal and minimal severity and since humans do not have forestomach (squamous epithelium), such change could be considered toxicologically as a minor change.
- The remaining lesions reported in control and treated animals were considered to be an expression of spontaneous and/or incidental pathology, commonly seen in this species and age under the experimental conditions.

OTHER FINDINGS:
Spermatogenic cycle:
- A detailed qualitative examination of the testes was performed in control and high dose groups. The evaluation, taking into account the tubular stages of the spermatogenic cycle, was conducted in order to identify treatment-related effects, such as missing germ cell layers or types, retained spermatids, multinucleated or apoptotic germ cells and sloughing of spermatogenic cells into the lumen.
Seminiferous tubules were evaluated with respect to their stage in the spermatogenic cycle and to the integrity of the various cell types within the different stages; regular layering in the germinal epithelium was noted.
Dose descriptor:
NOAEL
Remarks:
(systemic effects)
Effect level:
>= 1 000 mg/kg bw/day (actual dose received)
Based on:
act. ingr.
Remarks:
anhydrous zirconium acetate
Sex:
male/female
Basis for effect level:
other: Based on a lack of toxicologically relevant systemic effects in male or female parental animals in any dose group.
Critical effects observed:
not specified

The overall results of the test formulation analyses were within the limits of acceptance for concentration (15% of the theoretical concentration).

Conclusions:
On the basis of the results obtained in this study, the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) for systemic toxicity was considered to be >=1000 mg/kg bw/day (expressed as zirconium acetate anhydrous) for males and females.
Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no adverse effect observed
Study duration:
subacute
Species:
rat

Repeated dose toxicity: inhalation - systemic effects

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available

Repeated dose toxicity: inhalation - local effects

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available

Repeated dose toxicity: dermal - systemic effects

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available

Repeated dose toxicity: dermal - local effects

Endpoint conclusion
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available

Additional information

Repeated dose toxicity - oral route

Because there is no reliable information available for zirconium sulfate, read across was performed from a combined oral repeated dose toxicity study with reproduction/developmental toxicity screening test (OECD 422) in rats with zirconium acetate, another 'water-soluble' zirconium compound.

The read across justification is included in Section 13 of IUCLID. This study was considered reliable with restrictions (Klimisch 2) to reflect the read across status.

In this study the systemic toxic effects of zirconium acetate solution (containing 40.7% of the active ingredient anhydrous zirconium acetate) after administration of repeated doses, as well as any toxic effects on reproduction and development, were investigated in Sprague Dawley rats up to early lactation (day 4 post partum). The study (Rossiello, 2013) was performed according to OECD guideline 422 (GLP).

 

Three groups of 10 males and 10 females each received the test item, by oral gavage, at 100, 300 and 1000 mg/kg bw/day, expressed as zirconium acetate (anhydrous). A similar constituted control group received the vehicle alone during the treatment period. The test item was diluted in purified water (vehicle) at concentrations of 10, 30 and 100 mg of zirconium acetate/mL. Chemical analyses of the formulated test item were performed during the study and the overall results were within the limits of acceptance. The overall dosing period was 32 days for males, which included 2 weeks before pairing and continuously thereafter up to the day before necropsy and up to 50 days for females including 2 weeks before pairing thereafter during pairing, gestation and lactation periods until day 3 post partum.

 

The animals were followed for daily clinical signs, weekly body weight, food consumption, neurotoxicity assessment, oestrous cycle, mating performance, clinical pathology evaluation including haematology and clinical chemistry and offspring delivery. A detailed macroscopic examiation, organ weights and histopathology including the spermatogenic cycle were performed.

 

No treatment-related findings were observed either during the in vivo phase or at post mortem examination. Microscopically, treatment-related finding was seen in males receiving 300 and 1000 mg/kg bw/day consisting of minimal focal vacuolation of squamous epithelium (limiting ridge) of non-glandular region of the stomach. This change may be attributed to a local irritant effect of the compound administered by oral gavage and since humans do not have forestomach or structure analogous to forestomach, it is not considered of toxicological relevance.

No systemic adverse effects were therefore reported. On the basis of these results, the NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) for system toxicity after repeated oral exposure was considered to be >= 1000 mg of zirconium acetate/kg bw/day for both males and females.

Due to the indications for similar toxicokinetic behaviour of zirconium substances such as zirconium sulfate and zirconium acetate, the results of the repeated dose toxicity study with zirconium acetate are considered relevant for zirconium sulfate.

Two publications are available reporting on (oral) repeated dose effects of zirconium sulfate: Schroeder et al. (1968) and Schroeder et al. (1970). However, these studies were considered not reliable (Klimisch 3) and are therefore not discussed in detail here. The results of these (drinking water) studies with mice and rats support the findings from the key study performed with zirconium acetate. No specific systemic toxic effects were observed in any of the available studies.

Repeated dose toxicity - dermal route

A key study is available for the oral route of exposure. According to the REACH Regulation, only one route of exposure should be tested for repeated dose toxicity (column 2, annex VIII, section 8.6.1). Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a repeated dose toxicity study via the dermal route of exposure.

Repeated dose toxicity - inhalation route

A key study is available for the oral route of exposure. According to the REACH Regulation, only one route of exposure should be tested for repeated dose toxicity (column 2, annex VIII, section 8.6.1). Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a repeated dose toxicity study via the inhalation route of exposure.

Annex IX further testing:

There is sufficient evidence available indicating that zirconium is barely absorbed (see section 7.1) and is therefore of low bioavailability. In addition, no adverse effects have been reported after repeated oral exposure of rats during 32 days (males) or 50 days (females) in an OECD 422 study (see above) performed with zirconium acetate, a 'water soluble' zirconium compound with similar toxicokinetic behaviour as zirconium sulfate. Based on this information it is unlikely to expect any toxicity after a period of 90 days of repeated exposure. As no adverse effect needs to be addressed, a test proposal for a 90-day study is not scientifically justified. Therefore, and for animal welfare reasons, a testing proposal is not included.


Justification for selection of repeated dose toxicity via oral route - systemic effects endpoint:
A single key study is available for a read across substance. See description of key information.

Justification for selection of repeated dose toxicity inhalation - systemic effects endpoint:
A key study is available for the oral route of exposure. According to the REACH Regulation, only one route of exposure should be tested for repeated dose toxicity (column 2, annex VIII, section 8.6.1). Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a repeated dose toxicity study via the inhalation route of exposure.

Justification for selection of repeated dose toxicity inhalation - local effects endpoint:
A key study is available for the oral route of exposure. According to the REACH Regulation, only one route of exposure should be tested for repeated dose toxicity (column 2, annex VIII, section 8.6.1). Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a repeated dose toxicity study via the inhalation route of exposure.

Justification for selection of repeated dose toxicity dermal - systemic effects endpoint:
A key study is available for the oral route of exposure. According to the REACH Regulation, only one route of exposure should be tested for repeated dose toxicity (column 2, annex VIII, section 8.6.1). Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a repeated dose toxicity study via the dermal route of exposure.

Justification for selection of repeated dose toxicity dermal - local effects endpoint:
A key study is available for the oral route of exposure. According to the REACH Regulation, only one route of exposure should be tested for repeated dose toxicity (column 2, annex VIII, section 8.6.1). Therefore, it is not necessary to perform a repeated dose toxicity study via the dermal route of exposure.

Justification for classification or non-classification

Based on the available data and according to the criteria of the DSD and CLP Regulation, zirconium sulfate should not be classified for STOT repeated exposure.