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Description of key information

The risk for sediment organisms from Aluminium trilactate are considered to be negligible. The direct and indirect exposure of sediment compartment to Lactate is unlikely as the substance is readily biodegradable. The bioavailability of Aluminium in sediment is considered to be low.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Aluminium trilactate is very soluble in water and dissociates to Lactate and Aluminium in form of its cation. Thus, the dissociation products Aluminium in its cationic form and Lactate are regarded separately.

According to REACH regulation (Annex X, 9.5.1, column II), long-term toxicity testing with sediment organisms does not need to be conducted for Lactate. Testing shall be proposed if the results of the safety assessment indicate the need. The direct and indirect exposure of sediment compartment to Lactate is unlikely as the substance is readily biodegradable.

Aluminium on the other hand “is the most commonly occurring metallic element comprising eight percent of the earth's crust (Press and Siever, 1974). It is a major component of almost all common inorganic soil particles with the exceptions of quartz sand, chert fragments, and ferromanganiferous concretions. The typical range of aluminum in soils is from 1% to 30% (10,000 to 300,000 mg Al kg-1) (Lindsay, 1979 and Dragun, 1988) with naturally occurring concentrations variable over several orders of magnitude.”US EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) (2003).

Aluminium has a complex geochemical cycle depending on pH and the presence of organic matter. The chemical speciation strongly influences the extent of adsorption to sediment. Aluminium in its cationic form strongly binds to negatively charged groups, e.g. fulvic acid and other organic matter (Environment Canada, 2010;WHO IPCS EHC1997; US ATSDR, 2008).

According to WHO IPCS EHC (1997):”Aluminium-bearing solid phases are relatively insoluble, particularly in the circumneutral pH range, and so most natural waters contain low concentrations of dissolved aluminium. However, the solubility of aluminium is highly dependent on pH, increasing at both low and high pH values, which reflects the amphoteric nature of the element. This fact, coupled with the large reservoir of aluminium in soils and sediments, means that aluminium concentrations can be substantially enhanced in acidic or poorly buffered environments subjected to sustained or periodic exposure to strong acidifying inputs. Under such conditions aluminium can be transported from soil to surface waters.”

Sediment, where metals are generally considered less biologically available, is nonetheless an important medium for aluminum (Stumm and Morgan 1981; Campbell et al. 1988; Tessier and Campbell 1990). Aluminum occurs naturally in aluminosilicates, mainly as silt and clay particles, and can be bound to organic matter (fulvic and humic acids) in sediments (Stumm and Morgan 1981). At pH > 5.0, dissolved organic matter (DOM) can coprecipitate with aluminum, thereby controlling its concentrations in lakes with elevated concentrations of DOM (Urban et al. 1990). DOM plays a similar role in peatlands (Bendell-Young and Pick 1995). At pH < 5.0, the cycling of aluminum in lakes is controlled by the solubility of mineral phases such as microcrystalline gibbsite (Urban et al. 1990). Lakes receiving drainage from acidified watersheds can act as a sink for aluminum (Troutman and Peters 1982; Dillon et al. 1988; Dave 1992).

Experimental acidification of lakes and limnocorrals has shown that aqueous aluminium concentrations rapidly increase in response to acidification (Schindler et al. 1980; Santschi et al. 1986; Brezonick et al. 1990). Mass-balance studies have demonstrated that retention of aluminum by sediments decreases as pH decreases (Dillon et al. 1988; Nilsson 1988). Under such conditions, sediments in acidified watersheds can provide a source of aluminum to the water column (Nriagu and Wong 1986). Based on calculation of fluxes in acidic lakes, Wong et al. (1989) suggested that sediment is a source of aluminum to the overlying water column.

The release of aluminum hydroxide sludge from drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) directly to surface waters is the primary pathway by which aluminum from aluminum salts enters sediment. If water velocity is low at the point of discharge, much of the released sludge will settle onto the surface of local sediment. Since, in Canada, the waters receiving such discharges are typically circumneutral, the solubility of aluminum in the sludge will generally be minimal” (Environment Canada, 2010).

US EPA (2003) concluded for the hazard assessment of Aluminium in soil, which may also be adapted to sediment: “Potential ecological risks associated with aluminum in soils is identified based on the measured soil pH. Aluminum is identified as a COPC [contaminant of potential concern] only for those soils with a soil pH less than 5.5. The technical basis for this procedure is that the soluble and toxic forms of aluminum are only present in soil under soil pH values of less than 5.5.”

The bioavailability of Aluminium in sediment is considered to be low. Thus the risk for sediment organisms is negligible.



Environment Canada (2010)Environment Canada Priority Substance List Assessment Report, Follow-up to the State of Science Report, 2000 Aluminium Salts (Final Content), available via internet: and

US ATSDR (United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)(2008) Toxicological profile for Aluminium, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, available via internet:


US EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) 2003 Ecological Soil Screening Level for Aluminum Interim Final.Available via internet: