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Environmental fate & pathways

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The available information on bioaccumulation of zirconium in the aquatic and terrestrial foodchain was studied in algae and higher terrestrial plants respectively, yielding the following conclusions:

- Although no data are available on other aquatic organisms besides algae and cyanobacteria, it can be concluded that zirconium has no potential to bioconcentrate/bioaccumulate in the aquatic foodchain. A rapid uptake of zirconium from the medium was observed as well as a rapid desorption. The BCF values obtained for cyanobacteria and microalgae were very low, the highest value being 0.064 L/kg ww.

- Based on a study on the transfer of zirconium from soil to plants, it could further be concluded that there is no potential for bioaccumulation of zirconium in the terrestrial foodchain, as all BSAF values were < 0.1, which is well below 1.

Further, since zirconium basic sulfate is highly insoluble in water, it is not expected to give rise to bioavailable zirconium under environmentally relevant conditions. Therefore, the results on aquatic and terrestrial bioaccumulation obtained with water soluble zirconium substances, can be considered to represent an overestimation of the bioaccumulation of zirconium from zirconium basic sulfate.