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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to soil microorganisms

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Description of key information

Given the extensive and continued use of calcium sulfate as a fertiliser and for chemical treatments of soils and its natural occurrence in the environment, it is considered that calcium sulfate would not have a detrimental effect on soil microorganisms.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Calcium sulfate, calcium and sulfate ions are ubiquitous in the environment. Calcium is an important constituent of most soils and the minerals found in soil are mostly compounds of calcium with other substances. Furthermore, calcium sulfate, as Gypsum, is used as an inorganic fertiliser to improve soil quality. Important applications include:

• for the reclamation of sodic soils through ion exchange (calcium replacing sodium)

• to reduce run-off water and its resulting erosion in dry agricultural areas as an ameliorant for acidic subsoils and soils in forestry

• to improve Ca- and S-nutritional elements in agriculture (rape and cereals)

• Gypsum is also useful as an additive for soils with high levels of sodium

Sulfur-reducing bacteria comprise several groups of bacteria that use sulfate as an oxidizing agent. Calcium sulfate is not toxic to these forms of bacteria and since it is used to enhance the quality of soil, it is expected that calcium sulfate would not be toxic to soil microorganisms.

Given the extensive and continued use of calcium sulfate as a fertiliser and for chemical treatments of soils and its natural occurrence in the environment, it is considered that calcium sulfate would not have a detrimental effect on soil microorganisms.