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Environmental fate & pathways

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The substance does not hydrolyze, as it has no hydrolysable groups. In water, the substance is dissociated in ferricyanide (Fe(CN)6)3 - and the corresponding cation (K+). The ferricyanide complex is stable in water just as its structural analogue sodium ferrocyanide, however when sodium ferrocyanide was exposed to sunlight it decomposes to cyanide ions, which are more toxic. The same applies to potassium ferricyanide. In nature only the upper part of water is exposed to sunlight, potentially resulting in some degradation to cyanide ions, while lower parts are of course less or not exposed to sunlight, thus resulting in no (or more limited) degradation of the ferricyanide complex. Due to the inorganic nature of the substance standard biodegradation testing systems are not applicable. Based on the high water solubility and the ionic nature, the anion is not expected to adsorb, while the cation can absorb to soil but potassium is generally available in the environment (soil, water). Potassium ferricyanide is not expected to bioaccumulate to a significant extent as it is highly water soluble, it exists in a dissociated form in an aqueous solution, its oral and/or dermal absorption in mammals is only limited namely estimated to be 10%, it has a low bioaccumulation potential and no significant adverse effects are observed in a chronic mammalian toxicity study with sodium ferrocyanide. Such a substance has a low potential for bioaccumulation.

Based on the physico-chemical properties, water is expected to be the preferable compartment of this substance.