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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in soil

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Description of key information

Under field conditions, ETU undergoes degradation processes and partial mineralization in a few days to a few weeks. Its main metabolite (ethyleneurea, CAS 120-93-4) is not considered as PBT or vPvB or harmful to the environment according to CLP criteria (EC 1272/2008 regulation) according to its disseminated dossier. Considering ETU as totally persistent would therefore be a worst-case assumption for chemical safety assessment. Under this assumption, ETU is not PBT/vPvB and the soil RCRs are all inferior to 1. Therefore, the chemical safety assessment performed under the worst-case assumption does not indicate the need to further investigate ETU degradation in soil.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Some studies using radiolabelled ETU show that ETU undergoes rapid degradation and partial mineralization within a fews days or weeks in soil. The process is mainly temperature dependent. All studies were performed with agricultural soils that may have been adapted to pesticides in the past. Taken together, the results indicate that ETU can degrade and mineralize in those soils and that its main metabolite is ethyleneurea (CAS 120 -93 -4). According to its disseminated dossier, ethyleneurea is readily biodegradable, not expected to bioaccumulate (log Kow = -1.16) and not hazardous to the environment according to CLP criteria (EC 1272/2008 regulation). Considering total persistency of ETU in soil would therefore be a worst case assumption. Under this assumption, no risk is identified for soil living organisms under any exposure scenario of the chemical safety assessment (RCR < 1). ETU should not be considered as PBT or vPvB as ETU is not expected to bioaccumulate (log Kow < 3). Therefore, following annex IX, section 9.2.1.3, column 2 of the REACH regulation EC 1907/2006, no further testing is required on biodegradation of ETU in soils as the chemical safety assessment does not indicate the need to.