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Environmental fate & pathways

Bioaccumulation: aquatic / sediment

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Bioaccumulation of Fatty acids, C14 - 18 and C16 - 18-unsatd., zinc salts in animals and biomagnification (i.e. accumulation and transfer through the food chain) is not considered relevant.
Zinc is an essential element which is actively regulated by organisms, so bioconcentration/bioaccumulation is not considered relevant.

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Additional information

FATTY ACIDS, C14 -18 and C16-18, unsatd., ZINC SALTS:

Based on read-across of zinc bioaccumulation data and the fact that substance Fatty acids, C14 -18 and C16 -18, undatd., zinc salts is readily biodegradable, bioaccumulation and biomagnification are not expected to be relevant for Fatty acids, C14 -18 and C16 -18, undatd., zinc salts. For a comprehensive overview of the bioaccumulation of zinc or the lack thereof, see the hazard assessment of "Zinc" within the framework of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 below.

These conclusions are similar to the conclusions for a structural analogue (i.e a similar fatty acid zinc salt: Fatty acids, C16 -18, zinc salts) from the EU RAR Zinc distearate (CAS-No.: 557-05-1 & 91051-01-3 EINECS-No.: 209-151-9 & 293-049-4) Part 1 - Environment (Final report R074_0805_env, May 2008:"Based on data on bioaccumulation of zinc in animals and on biomagnification (i.e. accumulation and transfer through the food chain), secondary poisoning is considered to be not relevant in the effect assessment of zinc..." "Distearate is not expected to bioaccumulate, knowing that fatty acids will degrade by the β oxidation pathway."


Bioaccumulation is not considered relevant for essential elements because of the general presence of homeostatic control mechanisms.

McGeer et al (2003) recently extensively the reviewed evidence on bioconcentration and bioaccumulation of zinc as a function of exposure concentration in a number of taxonomic groups (algae, molluscs, arthropods, annelids, salmonid fish, cyprinid fish, and other fish). The data clearly illustrated that internal zinc content is well regulated. All eight species taxonomic groups investigated exhibited very slight increases in whole body concentration over a dramatic increase in exposure concentration. In fact, most species did not show significant increases in zinc accumulation when exposure levels increased, even when exposure concentrations reached those that would be predicted to cause chronic effects. This suggests that adverse effects related to Zn exposure are independent of whole body accumulation. Due to the general lack of increased whole body and tissue concentrations at higher exposure levels, the zinc BCF data showed an inverse relationship to exposure concentrations. In all cases, the relationship of BCF to exposure was significant and negative. The slopes of the BCF/BAF – exposure relations were: algae: -1.0, insects: -0.79, arthropods: -0.73, molluscs: -0.83, salmonids: -0.92, Centrarchids: -0.80, Killifish: -0.84, other fish: -0.87. Overall, species mean slope was -0.85 +/- 0.03 (McGeer et al 2003).

The physiological basis for the inverse relationship of BCF to zinc exposure concentration arises from Zn uptake and control mechanisms. At low environmental zinc levels, organisms are able to sequester and retain Zn in tissues for essential functions. When Zn exposure is more elevated, aquatic organisms are able to control uptake. There is clear evidence that many species actively regulate their body Zn concentrations, including crustaceae, oligochaetes, mussels, gastropods, fish, amphipods, chironomids by different mechanisms (McGeer et al 2003).