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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to birds

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Description of key information

No relevant effects

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

This endpoint is covered by the category approach for soluble iron salts (please see the section on physical and chemical properties for the category justification/report format).

Testing for this endpoint has been waived in accordance with column 2 and Annex XI, 1.2 restrictions.

There are no standard long-term terrestrial toxicity tests reported in the literature, but data on acute effects of soluble iron salts in irrelevantly high concentrations in food are known from the literature. Thus these experiments are not relevant for assessment.

Grimes & Jaber (1986) evidenced the absence of acute effects of ferric sulphate on mortality of Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) exposed to 2'250 mg Fe(+2)/kg bw administered via oral capsules during 14 days. Further data exist with regard to dietary exposure. The same publication reports the absence of 50 % mortality after 8 day dietary exposure of the same species up to levels of 5620 mg Fe(+2)/kg bw.

Bantam chickens (Gallus domesticus) showed no effects on growth or survival following 14 days exposure to 1'000 mg Fe (+2)/kg diet in addition to harmful cadmium levels (Blalock & Hill 1988). This evidences the absence of iron toxicity at this level and indicates its potential to compensate effects of other metals. This is in line with another study reported from Hill (1979). At 147 mg Fe(+2)/kg diet no effects have been determined on weight gain following two weeks dietary exposure of the same species.

The assignment of the 8-day LC50 to a dose above 5000 mg Fe(+2)/kg diet has been confirmed by a study of the Office of Pesticide Programs (2000) with Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos).

In conclusion the available data are insufficient for threshold level derivation but indicate the absence acute toxicity to birds up to levels of 5 g Fe(+2)/kg diet (acute 8-day NOEC > 5 g Fe(+2)/kg diet).

No assessment of long term toxicity can be based on this experimental information. Secondary poisoning can be excluded as discussed in the summary of the section Ecotoxicological information.

Taking into account the generally less toxicity of Fe(+3) and its rapid formation under aerobic conditions together with the bioessentiality the following is assessed:

Iron species do not exhibit relevant acute avian toxicity. Chronic toxic effects to birds under environmental conditions seem unlikely.

  • Blalock TL, Hill CH (1988). Studies on the Role of Iron in the Reversal of Cadmium Toxicity in Chicks. DOI 10.1007/BF02795461 PMID 2484363 Biological Trace Element Research 17(1):247-57.
  • Grimes J, Jaber M (1986). Ferrous Sulfate Heptahydrate: An Acute Oral Toxicity Study with the Bobwhite. Wildlife International Ltd. Laboratory Project ID: 223-103.
  • Hill CH (1979). Studies on the ameliorating effect of ascorbic acid on mineral toxicities in the Chick. PMID 430217 The Journal of Nutrition 109(1):84-90. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/109/1/84.full.pdf
  • U.S. EPA Environmental Protection Agency, and Office of Pesticide Programs (2013). Pesticide Ecotoxicity Database (Formerly: Environmental Effects Database (EEDB)). Reference Number: 344, Environmental Fate and Effects Division, U.S.EPA, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., http://cfpub.epa.gov/ecotox/quick_query.htm Test Number 2061406