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Ecotoxicological information

Endpoint summary

Administrative data

Description of key information

Additional information

Toxicity to fish:

Several publications on the acute toxicity of benzyl alcohol to fish are available in the literature. The results indicate that benzyl alcohol has a very low acute toxicity to fish. The lowest 96h-LC50 is reported to be 460 mg/L, derived from a study by Mattson (1976), in which the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to Pimephales promelas was assessed in a 96h-static-acute toxicity test according to guideline EPA OPP 72-1 (Fish Acute Toxicity Test). This conclusion is in accordance with OECD SIDS (2001), in which the LC50 is derived to be above 100 mg/L.

Toxicity to invertebrates:

The toxicity of benzyl alcohol to invertebrates is assessed in several publications on the acute toxicity and in one publication on long-term toxicity. The lowest observed 48h-EC50 is reported to be 230 mg/L, derived from a GLP-compliant acute toxicity test by the Ministry of Environment in Japan (1997) conducted according to the OECD Guideline 202. In this study, Daphnia magna was used as test organism and the test duration was 48 hours. This conclusion is in line with the OECD SIDS (2001), in which an “endpoint” of > 100 mg/L is reported for daphnids.

The long-term toxicity of benzyl alcohol to invertebrates was assessed in a GLP-compliant test according to the OECD Guideline 211 conducted at the Japanese Ministry of Environment (NITE 2009). The EC50 and the NOEC for reproduction of Daphnia magna were determined to be 66 and 51 mg/L, respectively.

Toxicity to algae:

Several publications on the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to different algae species are available in the literature. The results indicate that benzyl alcohol has a very low toxicity to algae. The 72h-EC50 and NOEC for growth, derived from a GLP-compliant study by the Japanese Ministry of Environment (NITE 2009) are considered to be the most adequate values describing the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to algae. In this study the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to Pseudokirchnella subcapitata was assessed in an algae growth inhibition test according to OECD Guideline 201. The 72h-EC50 was determined to be 770 mg/L and the NOEC was determined to be 310 mg/L.

Toxicity to microorganisms:

Several publications on the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to different micro-organisms such as Escherichia coli (Bringmann & Kühn 1959), Photobacterium phosphoreum (Ferard et al.1983, Kaiser et al. 1987), Nitrosomonas & aerobic heterogens (Blum & Speece 1991) as well as Pseudomonas putida (Knie et al. 1983, Trenel & Kühn 1982) and two publications on the toxicity to the ciliates Microregma heterostoma (Bringmann & Kühn 1959) and Tetrahymena pyriformes (Schultz et al.1996) are available in the literature. In addition, a study on the respiration inhibition to activated sludge is available (Weytjens 1989). The studies indicate low toxicity to micro-organisms.

The study by Blum & Speece (1991) using aerobic heterotrophs and Nitrosomonas as test organism is regarded as key study. In this study, the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to microorganisms in the sewage treatment plant was assessed in a test for inhibition of oxygen consumption of aerobic heterotrophs and a test for inhibition of ammonium consumption of Nitrosomonas. The test organisms were obtained from the mixed liquor of an activated sludge sewage treatment plant. The test duration was 49 h and 24 h in the oxygen consumption and ammonium consumption test, respectively. The IC50 for aerobic heterotrophs and Nitrosomonas were determined to be 2100 mg/L and 390 mg/L, respectively.