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Environmental fate & pathways

Adsorption / desorption

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Description of key information

The adsorption/desorption study was not conducted as the lithium salts of monocarboxylic acids C14-C22 decompose rapidly to carbon dioxide, water and lithium ions. Metals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and lithium are expected to behave similarly, with ions in the aqueous environment remaining in solution. Lithium is a naturally occurring element and its adsorption/desorption is not expected to be scientifically relevant. 

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

In accordance with column 2 of REACH Annex VIII, the adsorption/desorption study does not need to be conducted as the substances in the lithium salts of monocarboxylic acids C14-C22 category are readily biodegradable and their relevant degradation products decompose rapidly. The dissociation and biodegradation in the environment of the substances would result in carbon dioxide, water and lithium ions. Stable degradation products are not formed in the environment. 

 

No data are available on the partition coefficient of lithium as, in accordance with column 2 of REACH Annex VII, the partition coefficient study does not need to be conducted as this substance is inorganic. Metals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and lithium are expected to behave similarly, with ions in the aqueous environment remaining in solution. Lithium is a naturally occurring element, “found in small amounts in nearly all igneous rocks and in the waters of many mineral springs” (Lide 2009) and the adsorption/desorption of lithium in the environment is not expected to be scientifically relevant. Furthermore, the REACH dossier for lithium hydroxide notes that lithium has a low potential for adsorption based on a Kd value of below 3 for soil.

 

In most cases, the substances are used as grease thickeners so, in realistic use scenarios, will be contained in base oil, with the formulated greases specifically designed to minimise the leaching of the thickener. As such, and given the very low solubility of the substances in water, the concentrations of the substances which would be available for adsorption to soil or sediment are limited.