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Environmental fate & pathways

Endpoint summary

Administrative data

Description of key information

Additional information

Aluminium ammonium sulfate instantaneously dissociates in water in its two components salts: aluminium sulfate and ammonium sulfate and further into the aluminium cation (Al3+), the ammonium cation (NH4+) and the sulfate anion (SO42-).


As aluminium is the third most common element in the earth’s crust, the literature is voluminous and the reviews, together with the number of reference papers on which they are based, that have been used in the compilation of this submission are the most recent and are listed below.

- ATSDR (2008). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.Toxicological profile for aluminium. September 2008.

- Environment Canada and Health Canada (2010). Priority Substances List Assessment Report for Aluminium chloride, Aluminium nitrate and Aluminium sulphate, January 2010.

- WHO (1997). Environmental Health Criteria 194. United Nations Environment Programme, International Labour Organisation, World Health Organization, International Programme On Chemical Safety.

For metals such as aluminum, the “free” or hydrated dissolved ions (i.e., Al3+, Al(OH)2+ and Al(OH)2 +) are normally considered to be the principal bioavailable forms. However, there is evidence that some other forms of a metal, such as organometallic compounds (e.g., of mercury and tin), oxyanions of the metal (e.g., CrO4 2-, AsO4 3-), and dissolved organic and inorganic metal complexes (e.g., colloidal and polynuclear aluminum complexes) can also be taken up by organisms. Bioaccumulation is more complex for naturally occurring inorganic substances such as metals, however, as processes such as adaptation and acclimation can modulate both accumulation and potential toxic impact. No information was found relating concentrations in animals with aluminum entering the environment from direct production or use of the three aluminium salts subject to Environment Canada (2010)assessment . All biota will naturally accumulate metals to some degree without deleterious effect and as some metals are essential elements, bioaccumulation does not necessarily indicate the potential for adverse effects. While metal bioaccumulation is homeostatically regulated for metals essential to biological function, non-essential metals may also be regulated to some degree as these homeostatic mechanisms are not metal-specific. Thus, interpretation of the toxicological significance of bioaccumulation data for metals such as aluminum is complex.

Aquatic species

The potential for accumulation of aluminum has been studied in several aquatic species including algae, fish, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians and snails. Based on the results, reported in the 7784 -26 -1, Bioaccumulation: aquatic/sediment, waiving section, it seems that alminium have a low potential of bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms.


Terrestrial species

The potential for accumulation of aluminum has been studied in several terrestrial plants and birds. Based on the results, reported in the 7784 -26 -1, Bioaccumulation: terrestrial, waiving section, it seems that aluminium have a low potential of bioaccumulation in terrestrial organisms.


Based on the high water solubility and the ionic nature, ammonium sulfate is not expected to bioaccumulate to a significant extent (OECD SIDS, 2004. SIDS Initial Assessment Report For SIAM 19.UNEP publications).