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Environmental fate & pathways


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Description of key information

In contact with water ethylene oxide will hydrolyse slowly.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Conway and co-workers studied the hydrolysis of ethylene oxide (1983) in sterilized distilled water, in natural river water and salt water. At neutral pH values (7.4) and at 25 °C a half-life of ethylene oxide in distilled water of 12.2 days was determined. In natural river water the half-life was 14.9 d and in 3% salt water the half-life was about 9 d. Ethylene oxide hydrolyses to ethylene glycol.

According to Regulation (EC) 1907/2006, Annex VIII, column 2, the study does not need to be conducted if the substance is readily biodegradable.