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Please be aware that this old REACH registration data factsheet is no longer maintained; it remains frozen as of 19th May 2023.

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Diss Factsheets

Ecotoxicological information

Short-term toxicity to fish

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Administrative data

Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Acute very toxic to fish.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

For sodium nitrite a large number of studies on toxicity to fish are reported in an OECD SIDS dossier. The LC50 values obtained vary widely between the species tested. The reason for this difference has been attributed to the ability of certain species, such as eels, bass and sunfish to prevent nitrite from crossing the gill membrane and entering the blood, whilst other species such as rainbow trout concentrate nitrite in their blood. The most sensitive species was the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). In the corresponding non-guideline study (Russo et al., 1981) a LC50 of 0.54 – 26.3 mg/L was reported after 96 h of exposure. The wide range of this result is probably depending on the quality of water used in the test system (pH, chloride and calcium ion concentration all having an influence). In particular, chloride ion concentration has been shown to be important, with increasing concentrations leading to a decrease in the toxicity of nitrite. This could also explain why tests with marine species showed a low toxicity to fish compared to some freshwater species. For example, Bianchini et al. (1996) tested the flatfish Paralichthys orbignyanus under summer (25 °C, 30 ‰ salinity) and winter (12 °C, 0 ‰ salinity) conditions and determined LC50 values of 150.7 mg/L and 118.3 mg/L, respectively.