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Short-term toxicity to aquatic invertebrates

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Description of key information

FRESHWATER (all EC50 or LC50 values and in mg/l)
Daphnia magna (48hr): 12340, (28hr) 18400, (24hr) >10000, >10000, (96hr) >100.
Ceriodaphnia dubia (48hr): 5012
Daphnia pulex (18hr): 12100
Streptocephalus proboscideus (24hr): 18800
Brachionus calyciflorus (24hr): 29600
Gammarus fasciatus (96hr) >100
Asellus intermedius (96hr) >100
Heliosoma trivolvis (96hr) >100
Dugesia tigrina (96hr) >100
Artemia salina (24hr) 23900, >10000
Artemia salina (24hr – single study) 24hr nauplii: 1833; 48hr nauplii: 857: 72hr nauplii: 695
Brachionus plicatilis (24hr): 34500

Key value for chemical safety assessment

EC50/LC50 for freshwater invertebrates:
5 012 mg/L
EC50/LC50 for marine water invertebrates:
857 mg/L

Additional information

In a reliable 48 hour acute toxicity study carried out to an ASTM protocol, Ceriodaphnia dubai and Daphnia magna were exposed to ethanol at sufficient concentrations to enable LC50 values of 5012mg/l and 12340mg/l respectively to be calculated based on an end point of mortality and as a geometric mean of 3 separate replicated assays.

In two publications by the same author, the results from 24 hour acute toxicity studies are reported where Daphnia magna were exposed to ethanol at concentrations up to 10,000mg/l. The EC50 was not reached at this concentration.  Note that there is a second publication by Bringman in this chapter reporting the same result.  It may be that this is the same result reported twice but since the results on other substances differ between the two publications, it is assumed that these represent the results from different assays rather than a repeat publication of earlier results, although this cannot be definitively stated.

In a reliable 24 hour acute toxicity study, the saltwater species Artemia Salina (brine shrimp) were exposed to ethanol at sufficient concentrations to enable EC50 values to be established. The study looked at shrimp nauplii of ages 24, 48 and 72 hours to assess for variation in sensitivity versus age. An EC50 of 1833mg/l was established for the 24 hour old nauplii based, however lower values of 858 and 695mg/l were established for the 48 and 72hr old nauplii respectively. (Whilst different, the two lower results were not statistically significantly different.) The results suggest that older specimens of this species are more sensitive than the younger ones.  However, in another 24 hour acute toxicity study using the same species at geometrically spaced concentrations up to 10,000mg/l under static conditions, a TLm (50% mortality) was not established at the maximum dose tested of 10000mg/l.

In a reliable 18 hour acute toxicity study which, apart from the exposure time, followed the basic principles of a guideline study, Daphnia Pulex were exposed to ethanol at aqueous concentrations in the range 1 to 2.5% (v/v). An LC50 of 1.53% was calculated based on an end point of mortality (measured as immobility). This is equivalent to an LC50 of 12100mg/l.

In a number of reliable acute toxicity studies using a commercially available test kit screening assays, the toxicity of ethanol to the following species was examined: Brachionus plicatilis (marine rotifers), Streptocephalus proboscideus (freshwater shrimp) Artemia salina (brine shrimp), Brachionus calyciflorus (freshwater rotifer), and Daphnia magna.  All tests were 24 hour.  The lowest EC50 obtained was for D. Magna at 18400mg/l.

In a 96 hour acute toxicity screening study for which detailed information is available, Daphnia magna were exposed to ethanol simultaneously with a number of other species in a limit test with a nominal concentration of 100mg/l.  No deaths were observed with any of the species examined (Daphnia magna, Gammarus fasciatus, Asellus intermedius, Heliosoma trivolvis, Dugesia tigrina.)