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Diss Factsheets

Environmental fate & pathways

Bioaccumulation: aquatic / sediment

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Administrative data

Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Significant accumulation in organisms is not to be expected.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

In contact with water, dimethyl ether - boron trifluoride rapidly decomposes to form dimethyl ether and boron trifluoride dihydrate. The assessment of bioaccumulation potential was consequently based on the properties of the hydrolysis products. Dimethyl ether has a logKow of 0.13 - 0.26 determined by the flask shaking method OECD TG 107 (JETOC, 1991) and bioaccumulation is therefore not expected.

Boron trifluoride dihydrate further hydrolyses, forming an acidic reactive mixture of boric acid, hydroxyfluoroboric acids, hydrofluoric acid, tetrafluoroboric acid and, depending on the pH value, the corresponding anions are produced. The hydrolysis products are all ionic species characterized by a low potential for bioaccumulation.

The WHO (1998) review on boron noted that highly water soluble materials are unlikely to bioaccumulate to any significant degree and that borate species are all present essentially as undissociated and highly soluble boric acid at neutral pH. In a study by Thompson et al., cited in the review, significant accumulation of boron was observed neither in pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) nor in sockeye salmon (Onchorhynchus nerka). A BCF of 1.4 can be derived from the concentration data given (Thompson et al., 1976). Suloway et al. reported a BCF of 0.3 for both fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) and green sunfish (Lepomis cyanella). The data are consistent and indicate no significant bioaccumulation of boron in the aquatic organisms tested. Saiki et al. studied the the biomagnification of several metals in aquatic organisms exposed to fly ash. Boron was not biomagnified in the aquatic food chain.