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The very low water solubility of DEHP causes problems when testing toxicity to aquatic organisms and when interpreting the results. Most aquatic studies with DEHP have been made at test levels, which exceed the water solubility of 3 μg/l or even the apparent (colloidal) water solubility of up to about 300 µg/L (EU-RAR, 2008).

In test solutions with concentrations higher than the water solubility, emulsions of micro-droplets of DEHP and surface films may be formed. This may cause unstable test solutions where the bioavailable fraction is lower than the nominal concentration, and the exposure of the organism cannot be correctly quantified. Formation of micro-droplets or surface films may also contribute to effects by direct physical interference, e.g. entrapment at the surface of Daphnids (flotation).

Summarizing over all reliable and relevant studies and over all three trophic levels, there are no reliable long-term studies below the apparent water solubility of DEHP indicating effects on organisms exposed to DEHP in water.