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Ecotoxicological information

Short-term toxicity to fish

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Description of key information

Acute toxicity studies for fish on slags, ferronickel-manufg. are not available. A read-across approach was chosen to be followed, based on the individual constituents of the substance. Studies on the toxicity of trivalent Chromium, Nickel and soluble Aluminium showed that these substances produce toxic effects on fish at concentrations much higher than their maximum water solubility from ferronickel slags that was determined in a test (see endpoint 4.8). Calcium and Sulfur are the two most soluble elements in ferronickel slags, but their acute toxicity to fish is insignificant. Magnesium and iron are both of low solubility and low ecotoxicological activity, therefore they will not affect the resolution. 

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Brix et al. (2004) studied the acute toxicity of Ni to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The authors concluded that acute Ni toxicity was not related to the disruption of ion regulation, while the results were in agreement with other similar studies. The EC50 that was determined was 20.8mg Ni/L. This value is significantly higher than the maximum concentration of Ni that is measured in water solubility and leachability tests (see endpoint 4.8 and NTUAa, 2011).

The acute toxicity of soluble trivalent Cr to Pimephales promelas was evaluated using metal salt of CrCl3.6H2O (Baral et al., 2006). The duration of the test was 48h and it derived an EC50 of 19.79mg Cr(III)/L and a NOAEC of 7.04 mg Cr(III)/L. The EC50value for trivalent Cr was higher than the measured concentrations of Cr in eluates of ferronickel slag. Thus, no acute effect is expected due to the release of Cr(III) from ferronickel slag.

There were no clear differences in survival time between fish exposed to Al rich medium with increased ionic strength and to Al rich medium only in a flow-through test system. There was a systematic increase in fish survival time from the first Al regime to the third Al regime (high residence time, equal to 90 min). The mean survival time was 16 h in the first Al regime, 34 h in the second Al regime (30 min residence time of Al before fish exposure) and 71 h in the third Al regime (90 min residence time of Al before fish exposure).