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Ecotoxicological information

Short-term toxicity to fish

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Description of key information

The lowest 96h-LC50 is reported to be 460 mg/L (Mattson 1976), which indicates that Benzyl alcohol has a very low  toxicity to fish. This conclusion is in accordance with the OECD SIDS (2001), in which the LC50 is derived to be above 100 mg/L.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

LC50 for freshwater fish:
460 mg/L

Additional information

Eight publications on the acute toxicity of benzyl alcohol to fish are available and reported in the US EPA Document on Benzyl alcohol (1989) and/or in the OECD SIDS Report on Benzoates (2001). Of the eight publications only the study by Mattson (1976) and Knie et al. (1983) are used in the OECD SIDS evaluation as critical studies for the SIDS endpoint. Both studies are guideline studies and are also regarded as relevant in the hazard assessment of the present dossiers:

  • In the study by Mattson (1976), the toxicity of benzyl alcohol to fish was assessed in a static-acute toxicity test according to guideline EPA OPP 72-1 (Fish Acute Toxicity Test). The test duration was 96 hours and juveniles of the fathead minnow Pimephales promelas were used as test organisms. Fish mortality was assessed 1, 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours after test start. The LC50 after 96 hours exposure was determined to be 460 mg/L (nominal concentration).
  • In the study by Knie et al. (1983), the effect of benzyl alcohol to fish was determined in a 48 -hour static acute toxicity test according to the guideline DIN 38412, Part 15. Leucociscus idus was used as test organism. The LC0 (48h) and the LC50 (48h) values were determined to be 630 and 646 mg/L, respectively.

In addition to the publications above, the Ministry of Environment in Japan conducted two GLP-compliant acute studies according to OECD Guidelines 203 (fish, acute toxicity test) and 204 (Fish, prolonged toxicity test, 14 days) (NITE 2009). In these tests, Oryzias latipes was used as test organism. LC50 values of > 100 mg/l and > 99 mg/L were determined after 96h and 14 days exposure, respectively. The 14-day NOEC of 5.1 mg/L is not considered to be relevant for PNEC derivation, since the respective study is only a prolonged toxicity test and cannot be considered as suitable chronic test (see Endpoint Specific Guidance RIP 3.2, Chapter R.7B, Section 7.8.4.1). Furthermore, it cannot be excluded that this value is due to unfavourable dose-setting, since this value does not fit in the overall picture of acute toxicity provided in the studies by Mattson (1976) and Knie et al. (1983).

Since in the study by Mattson (1976) a 96h-LC50 is available, this study was defined as key study for the present dossier. The studies from the Japanese Ministry of Environment (NITE 2009) and by Knie et al. (1983) are regarded as supporting studies.

The following studies are regarded as not relevant for the environmental hazard assessment:

  • In the publication by Dawson (1975/77), which is also cited in the US EPA Document (1989) and in the OECD SIDS (2001), a 96h-LC50 of 10 mg/L for the freshwater species, Lepomis macrochirus, and a 96h-LC50 of 15 mg/L for the saltwater species, Menidia beryllina, were determined. However, these endpoints are not considered in the endpoint derivation of the OECD SIDS because of significant methodological deficiencies (e.g. study is not guideline compliant, the substance was directly diluted in to the test aquaria), and was therefore not considered in the environmental hazard assessment of the benzyl alcohol of the present dossier.
  • The publications by Loeb & Kelly (1983), Applegate et al. (1957), Lipnick et al. (1985), Hollis & Lennon (1954) and Wood (1954) are also reported in the US EPA Document (1989) and the OECD SIDS Report (2001), but were not used for the endpoint derivation of the SIDS. The endpoints, nevertheless, were reported to be > 5 mg/L (24h-LC0; Hollis & Lennon 1954, Wood 1954, Applegate et al. 1957), 136 mg/kg bw (24h-LC0; Loeb & Kelly 1983) and 887 mg/L (LC50, QSAR-calculation; Lipnick et al. 1985). Since the studies do neither follow a guideline nor are considered as critical studies in the SIDS, they are regarded as not relevant for the environmental hazard assessment in the current dossier.