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Environmental fate & pathways

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The available experimental data on the substances of the subcategory ethylene glycol of the glycol esters category demonstrate a rapid degradation of the substances under aerobic conditions. Degradation rate > 60% were demonstrated for all tested substances. Based on the available data, all substances of the glycol esters category are assessed as readily biodegradable according to OECD criteria.

The first step of biodegradation is the enzyme-catalysed cleavage of the ester bond by lipase or esterase, enzymes which are synthesized by a wide range of microorganisms (Boczar et al., 2001). The free fatty acids (C4 to C24 incl. C18 unsatd.) are known to be degraded rapidly and utilized as substrates by activated sludge microorganisms (Kangala & Medrzycka, 2008).

As the substances of the subcategory ethylene glycol of the glycol esters category are assessed as readily biodegradable, testing is not required for the biodegradation simulation tests in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006.