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The new ECHA CHEM database has been released by ECHA, and it now contains all REACH registration data. There are more details on the transition of ECHA's published data to ECHA CHEM here.

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In water, dimethyl ether - boron trifluoride rapidly decomposes to form dimethyl ether and boron trifluoride dihydrate. The latter reacts further to boric acid and fluoroboric acid, which finally hydrolyses to yield hydrofluoric acid/ fluoride ions (BUA Report 261, 2005). Due to the reactivity of dimethyl ether – boron trifluoride in water, a weight of evidence approach was chosen for the assessment of aquatic toxicity, including studies on the submission substance itself as well as studies on decomposition/hydrolysis products. For this purpose all public data described in the EU Risk Assessment Report for boric acid was used. Fluoride was not included in the assessment, since it is not assumed to significantly contribute to the toxic effect. The EU Risk assessment report on hydrofluoric acid indicates for fluoride ions a PNEC of 0.9 mg/L (or 3.3 mg/L derived with SSD), whereas a PNEC of 0.56 mg/L (or 1.9 mg/L derived with SSD) was estimated for boric acid. We can, therefore, assume that the toxicity of BF3 is dominated by the toxicity of H3BO3.

Short-term fish studies are available for all main hydrolysis products. Dimethyl ether showed very low fish toxicity, with a NOEC value of > 4000 mg/L (DEA Mineraloel AG in ECB IUCLID, 2000) . With boron trifluoride dihydrate, the observed effects were due to the decreased pH only. No mortality or sublethal effects occured in the neutralised sample at 100 mg/L (BASF AG, 1988). The most reliable literature studies with boric acid and fluoroborate report LC50 values between 125 and 600 mg/L (Hamilton, 1997; Curtis and Ward, 1981).

Also the effects observed with Daphnia magna were only due the low pH, when testing dimethyl ether – boron trifluoride. No effects were observed in the neutralised sample at 100 mg/L (BASF AG, 1992). In the EU Risk Assessment Report for boric acid, 24 – 48 h EC50 values for Daphnia magna range from 73 to 226 mg B /L. Expressed as concentration of dimethyl ether – boron trifluoride, all values are above 100 mg/L. Also dimethyl ether showed low toxicity on daphnia, with an EC50 value of 165 mg/L.

The study on algal toxicity of dimethyl ether - boron trifluoride was performed without pH adjustment, and the observed effect (ErC50 = 22.0 mg/L) is probably due to the acidity of the solution. In a study performed with the similar substance diethyl ether - boron trifluoride no growth inhibition was observed at the highest concentration tested 10 mg/L. A study with boron trifluoride dihydrate gave an ErC50 value of 500 mg/L (BASF AG, 1991). In the EU Risk Assessment Report for boric acid, only an EC50 value of 52 mg B /L is reported, which corresponds to 544 mg/L dimethyl ether – boron trifluoride.

Long-term data is only available for boric acid and borax (disodium tetraborate). Reliable NOEC values for fish and daphnia range between 5 and 27 mg B /L.

No long-term studies are available for dimethyl ether, probably due to its high volatility. From surface waters diethyl ether will evaporate more or less rapidly depending on the hydrographic conditions, and will be subject to photolysis in the atmosphere.