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Environmental fate & pathways

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Pyrochlore:

The overall chemical and physiological properties of pyrochlore are principally characterised by a degree of inertness because of the specific synthetic process (calcination at high temperatures, approximately 1000°C), rendering the substance to be of a unique, stable crystalline structure in which the majority of atoms are tightly bound and not prone to dissolution in environmental and physiological media. This has been shown in transformation/dissolution testing for antimony, in which dissolved Sb concentrations were below 27 µg/L (after 7 days at a loading of 0.1g/L) and 2 µg/L (after 28 days at a loading of 1 mg/L); thus implying a solubility of < 0.03% of antimony. Hence, Sb can be considered as not bioavailable and is not regarded concerning toxicological and environmental effects.

On the other hand, lead dissolution levels were much higher (>2.9 mg/L at a loading of 100 mg/L after 7 days at pH 6; 105 µg/L at a loading of 1 mg/L after 28 days at pH 6) and therefore have to be regarded concerning toxicological and environmental aspects. No substance-specific data on the toxicity of pyrochlore are available, so that instead read-across to lead oxide and sparingly soluble lead compounds was conducted

According to the guidance given in Annex VII if REACH legislation and Chapter R.7B (Endpoint Specific Guidance) of the ECHA REACH Guidance Document, (2008), the requirements for “Ready biodegradability” can be waived if the substance is inorganic (e.g., Pb-salt).

For inorganic substances like lead salts for which the chemical assessment is based on the elemental concentration (i.e., pooling all inorganic speciation forms together), biotic degradation is an irrelevant process, regardless of the environmental compartment that is under consideration: biotic processes may alter the speciation form of an element, but will not eliminate the element from the aquatic compartment by degradation of transformation. This elemental-based assessment (pooling all speciation forms together) can be considered as a worst-case assumption for the chemical assessment.