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EC number: 203-466-5
CAS number: 107-13-1
Toxicity to fish
A Japan Ministry of Environment (2011) study with Oryzias latipes was
reliably performed, with appropriate measures to ensure that exposure
was satisfactorily maintained, and is considered to provide the key
acute toxicity endpoint for freshwater fish. The 96-hour LC50 was 5.1
mg/L (mean measured).
The long-term toxicity of acrylonitrile to fish was determined in a fish
early life stage test with P. promelas (fathead minnow), using
flow-through conditions. No NOEC could be established for this study as
the growth rate was significantly reduced at the lowest concentration
tested (0.34 mg/L, measured). The report concluded that this
concentration represented the MATC. The EU RAR concluded that this
concentration represents the LOEC (for risk assessment purposes). The EU
RAR calculated a NOEC by applying a safety factor of 2 to the LOEC,
giving a NOEC of 0.17 mg/L.
Toxicity to aquatic invertebrates
A Japan MoE (2011) study with Daphnia magna was reliably
performed, with appropriate measures to ensure that exposure to
acrylonitrile was satisfactorily maintained, and is considered to
provide the key acute toxicity endpoint for freshwater invertebrates.
The 48-hour EC50 was 2.5 mg/L (mean measured).
Tong et al. (1996) carried out a 14-day and a 21-day chronic
toxicity study in D. magna using the OECD 1987 Testing Guidelines
with daily renewal of test solutions, but without measurement of
acrylonitrile. They reported that the results of the two studies were
identical, with a NOEC for survival of 2 mg/L nominal (LOEC > 4 mg/L)
and a NOEC for reproduction of 0.5 mg/L nominal. This study is reported
by the EU RAR (2004) to be the critical study.
Toxicity to algae
The effects of acrylonitrile on the growth of the freshwater unicellular
green alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata were reliably
determined following exposure for 72 hours under static conditions in
sealed vessels (Japan MoE, 2011). The 72-hour ErC50 (growth rate) was 10
mg/L (mean measured) and the corresponding NOErC was 0.95 mg/L. Since
the NOErC relates to algal growth (cell multiplication), it is
considered to be a long-term endpoint for the primary producer trophic
group and is taken into account in setting the assessment factor for the
derivation of the aquatic PNEC.
Toxicity to microorganisms
The results of biodegradation testing shows that acrylonitrile has an
initial inhibitory effect on non-acclimated microorganisms, but
following acclimation EC50s for microorganisms are generally in excess
of 100 mg/l.
No data are available and no testing is proposed. A waiver is
appropriate for this endpoint on the basis of very low exposure of
sediment. Acrylonitrile will be biodegraded in WWTP; any low levels of
acrylonitrile present in aquatic emissions will not be expected to
accumulate in sediment based on the physicochemical properties of the
substance (Koc and water solubility). sediment dwelling organisms will
therefore be exposed to acrylonitrile in the aqueous phase.
Studies in other aquatic organisms
The acute toxicity of acrylonitrile to 2 -3 day old Bufo bufo
gargarizans toad tadpoles was evaluated in a flow through test, with
exposure periods of 48 and 96 hours. The 48-h LC50 was 14.22 mg/L. The
96-h LC50 was 11.59 mg/L (Tong et al., 1996). The same authors
also performed a 28-day early life stage toxicity test in the same
organism. The 3 day old tadpoles were exposed to acrylonitrile in a
freshwater flow through test system for 28 days, according to US EPA
guidelines. The NOEC (foreleg development) was 0.4 mg/L, and the LOEC
(foreleg development) was 0.8 mg/L, giving a ChV of 0.56 mg/L. The NOEC
for survival was 3.2 mg/L.
No data are available. Waivers are proposed for terrestrial toxicity
endpoints based on exposure considerations.
Acrylonitrile can potentially be redistributed to soil from the
atmospheric or aqueous compartments, by the spreading of
acrylonitrile-contaminated sewage sludge or as a result of accidental
spills. Acrylonitrile is anticipated to be relatively mobile in soil,
and this was supported by the results of an adsorption:desorption study
of acrylonitrile, which provides no evidence of adsorption, the
adsorption:desorption processes being in equilibrium. This is supported
by calculation of the Koc (soil adsorption coefficient) using QSAR and
from the water solubility of acrylonitrile when values of 11.5 and 9.0
L, respectively were derived, showing little potential for adsorption to
soil. Industrial sludge from acrylonitrile production and processing
facilities is not spread on land in Europe; contaminated sludge is
incinerated. The main source of release of acrylonitrile to soil will
therefore be deposition from the atmospheric compartment. Acrylonitrile
entering the terrestrial compartment in small quantities will be rapdily
degraded by photolysis. Any run-off from the soil will be released to
groundwater, where acrylonitrile will also undergo biodegradation. The
above considerations would therefore indicate that levels of
acrylonitrile in soil are likely to be extremely low.
Toxicity to fish
Knight & McHenery (AN Group, 1997) report a 96-hour LC50 of 8.6 mg/L for
acrylonitrile in sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus), a
marine species and this provides the acute toxicity endpoint for salt
water fish. The 96-hour LC50 endpoints for O. latipes and C.
variegatus are similar and there is no evidence to suggest a
substantial difference in sensitivity to acrylonitrile between fresh-
and sea-water fish. Numerous other acute toxicity endpoints are
available and are summarised in the EU RAR, however the Knight &
McHenery study with C. variegatus was considered to be the most
reliable result in fish at the time the EU RAR was compiled, and this
provides the acute toxicity endpoint for salt water fish. A public
domain study (Neuparth et al., 2013) of sub-lethal effects in
seabass is also available and provides additional information. The LOEC
from a range of sub-lethal effects was found to be 0.15 mg/L. This study
has not been considered for derivation of PNECs as it was not performed
according to a recognised guideline, and is of unknown reliability.
The 48-hour EC50 endpoints reported in four supporting acute toxicity
studies with D. magna range between 7.6 and 22 mg/L. Neuparth et
al. (2011) noted the results of a number of public domain studies
where testing had been conducted on aquatic invertebrates. The 48-hour
LC50 for Artemia salina was reported to be 14.34 mg/L. The 24
-hour LC50 for Crangon franciscorum was reported to be 10-33
An AN Group study (1997) examined the effect of acrylonitrile on the
growth of Skeletonema costatum, a unicellular chain-forming
marine diatom over a 72-hour period in accordance with the 1990 PARCOM
guidelines for testing of offshore chemicals and drilling muds. In this
study the 72-hour ErC50 was 14.1 mg/L (initial measured concentration,
with 96% loss in concentration over 72 hours) and the NOErC was 3.0
mg/L. Other data were reviewed in the EU RAR (2004), however the AN
Group (1997) study was considered to be the most robust algal study at
the time that the EU RAR was compiled.
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