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Environmental fate & pathways

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Biodegradability of Epichlorohydrin has been investigated following the OECD 301 C (MITI) protocol at 100 mg/l; a concentration that may be inhibitory to the inoculum (no information on inhibition available). However, the hydrolysis product of Epichlorohydrin is readily biodegradable. The Japanese Institute of Technology and Evaluation concludes Epichlorohydrin to be readily biodegradable based on this result.

Elimination of Epichlorohydrin in the aqueous phase of a sewage treatment plant has been simulated in two studies. Volatilisation has been controlled by the use of closed vessels. One study followed the EPA method for assessing the biodegradability of compounds in biological treatment units (40 CFR 63, 2001) and used an inoculum from an industrial waste water treatment plant that is exposed to waste water containing Epichlorohydrin, the other used unadapted inoculum under denitrifying conditions. In the study with adapted inoculum, rapid elimination was observed (based on test material analysis) at an exposure time typical for a sewage water treatment plant (less than 1 mg/l after 2 hrs). Under denitrifying conditions, elimination after 3 hours (relevant residence time for a sewage treatment plant) was <10%, significant elimination (95%) was reached after 96 h. The results suggest a rapid elimination from STP with sludge that is accommodated to emission of Epichlorohydrin and delayed elimination for unadapted sludge.