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Sediment toxicity

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Description of key information

No data on anthracene oil < 50 ppm BaP itself is available. Phenanthrene, a key substance of anthracene oil < 50 ppm BaP, has been adopted as marker. Toxicity values have been located for estuarine sediment in three different species in fresh and marine water. 

Key value for chemical safety assessment

EC10, LC10 or NOEC for freshwater sediment:
50 mg/kg sediment dw
EC10, LC10 or NOEC for marine water sediment:
100 mg/kg sediment dw

Additional information

Toxicity tests to sediment organisms with anthracene oil < 50 ppm BaP (AOL) itself could not be identified. But data obtained with phenanthrene as test substance are available. These will be used to characterise the sediment toxicity of AOL.

AOL contains mainly 3-ring aromatic compounds and to a lesser extent PAHs with >=4 rings (see Chapter 1.). 2-ring aromatics are minor. In combination, these substances will constitute the toxic effects of AOL to sediment organisms. Main component of AOL is phenanthrene. It is present in AOL in concentrations up to 31% (average 28%). Amongst the PAH present in AOL, phenanthrene is one with the most pronounced toxicity in aquatic systems. Its toxicity is taken to represent the sediment toxicity of the other PAH. Phenanthrene can be used as substitute and marker substance to characterise the sediment toxicity of AOL.

There are chronic data for freshwater sediment with annelids, crustaceans and insect larvae, i. e. for three different types of benthic species. The NOEC values (normalised to standard condition of 10 % organic carbon) ranged from 50 to about 200 mg/kg sediment dw. The lowest NOEC of 50 mg/kg sediment dw (standardised) were both obtained from chronic studies with Hyalella azteca and Chironomus riparius (Verrhiest et al. 2001).

In addition, one study was located with the marine infaunal amphipod Rhepoxynius abronius (Swartz et al. 1997). The 10 d LC10 was ca. 100 mg/kg sediment dw. This value was recalculated with respect to standard conditions of 10% organic carbon from original data reported in the study.

For sediment, there is - like in the aquatic compartment - some evidence that phenanthrene toxicity to marine organisms is not higher than to freshwater organisms.