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The approach for determining the relevant environmental fate and ecotoxicity effects data for Ni metal and Ni compounds is based on the observation that adverse effects to aquatic, soil- and sediment-dwelling organisms are a consequence of exposure to the bioavailable Ni-ion, as opposed to the parent substances. Hence, Ecotoxicity Reference Values (ERVs) for metals are derived using data from several soluble metal substances, and in most cases, are based on the dissolved metal concentration, not the parent substance. The basis for this approach is that the parent substances (e.g., NiCl2, NiSO4, and Ni(NO3)2) all release the same toxicologically relevant metal ion (i.e., Ni2+). Therefore, the toxicities of the parent substance will be the same when normalized to the concentration of the free metal ion. The relative ecotoxicity of a substance can be estimated by assessing the nickel ion release from nickel oxalate under environmentally relevant conditions (from transformation/dissolution testing of nickel oxalate). The relative toxicity can be assessed by comparing the amount of nickel ion released in the transformation/dissolution testing to the acute and chronic reference toxicity values derived from water soluble nickel substances. This is a reasonable assumption for the majority of inorganic compounds and some organic compounds (e.g., metal salts of some organic acids) (ICCM, 2007; OECD, 2007; and ECHA, 2008), provided no significant effect of the other constituents is expected. The oxalate ion is not of concern since the toxicity of the oxalate ion is much lower than that of nickel, as evidenced by aquatic toxicity values for oxalate to algae and invertebrates being 80 mg/L (NOEC) and 90 mg/L (EC50) (Bringmann and Kuehn, 1980; Anderson, 1978), respectively, compared to soluble nickel values of 0.125 mg/L (EC50) and 0.068 mg/L (LC50) for algae and invertebrates (Deleebeeck et al., 2004 in IUCLID section 6.1.5; Schubauer-Berigan et al., 1993 and Parametrix, 2005a and b in IUCLID section 6.1.3), respectively. Therefore, the basis for ecotoxicity of nickel oxalate is the bioavailable Ni ion, which can be quantified using the transformation/dissolution testing and comparing it with the toxicity of the nickel ion toxicity.


Anderson, B.G. 1944. The toxicity thresholds of various substances found in industrial wastes as determined by the use of Daphnia magna, Sewage Works J. 16(6): 1156-1165.

Bringmann, G. and Kuehn, R. 1978. Limiting values for the Noxious Effects of Water Pollutant Material to Blue Algae (Microcystis aeruginosa) and Green Algae (Scenedesmus quadricauda) in Cell Propagation Inhibition Tests (Grenzwerte der Schadwirkung Wasse, Vom Wasser 50: 45-60.

ECHA. 2008. Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment, Chapter R.6: QSARs and Grouping of Chemicals (Available from ECHA website:

ICMM [International Council on Mining and Metals]. 2007. Health Risk Assessment Guidance for Metals (HERAG) (available from ICMM website:

Kirby Memorial Health Center. 2010. Bioaccessibility of nickel oxalate (soluble nickel analyses in simulated gastric, interstitial, and lysosomal fluids). Study Sponsor: Metallo-Chimique. Report Date: 2010-06-30.

OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development]. 2007. Guidance on Grouping of Chemicals. Series on Testing and Assessment Number 80 (Available from the OECD website:$FILE/JT03232745.PDF).

Skeaff, J., Beaudoin, R. and Gareau-Nantel, C. 2010. Nickel Oxalate 24 hr T/D test. CANMET-MMSL. CANMET Report No.: 10-015(CR). Study Sponsor: Metallo-Chimique. Report Date: 2010-03-01.

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