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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to aquatic algae and cyanobacteria

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Description of key information

From the available test data in combination with QSAR calculations it can be concluded, that the members of the ethylene category shows a very low toxicity to aquatic algae.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

EC10 or NOEC for freshwater algae:
100 mg/L

Additional information

Within the category of 'ethylene glycol and higher glycols' data on the toxicity for aquatic algae are available for four substances ethylene glycol (CAS-No.: 107-21-1), diethylene glycol (CAS-No.: 111-46-6) , triethylene glycol (CAS-No.: 112-27-6) and pentaethylene glycol (CAS-No.: 4792-15-8).

For three substances (CAS-No.: 107-21-1, 111-46-6, 112-27-6) 8 days cell growth inhibition tests with the green algae Scenedesmus quadricauda were conducted according to the method described from Bringmann & Kühn (1977/78). The reported toxic threshold concentrations, which are comparable with an EC5 value ranged between 2700 mg/L for diethylene glycol and >10000 mg/L for ethylene glycol and triethylene glycol.

For ethylene glycol a further study with Selenastrum capricornutum is available, which was conducted according to EPA standards. After 96 hours of exposure an EC50 value of 6500-13000 mg/L is reported [Dow, 1982].

Furthermore, one study according to OECD guideline 201 is availablefor pentaethylene glycol. In this study the green algae Pseudokirchnerella subcapitata was exposed for 72 hours in a limit test with a test concentration of 100 mg/L. No effects on the growth rate of the algae were determined [Mead & McKenzie, 2003 – cited in OECD SIDS 2004].

For each category member the expected long-term toxicity to green algae was additionally calculated with the QSAR EpiWin-Program ECOSAR v1.11. Based on the results of the estimations a very low chronic toxicity has to be expected for all category members. The calculated chronic value (ChV) for ethylene glycol (CAS-No.: 107-21-1) is 479 mg/L [BASF SE, 2013].