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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to soil macroorganisms except arthropods

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Administrative data

Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Uronium hydrogen sulphate readily degrades to urea and sulfuric acid and/or sulfate ions in the environment and these degradation products are considered in the assessment:
- Application of urea (in common with other nitrogen fertilisers like urea sulphate) releases ammoniacal-N which is nitrified to nitrate: an acidic species that causes gradual lowering of soil pH unless the effect is counteracted by lime application. This is not a direct effect of exposure to urea.
- Sulfate ions are ubiquitous in the environment. These are essential to all living organisms (flora and fauna) and their intracellular and extra-cellular concentrations are actively regulated. Therefore, the performance of short/long term toxicity tests on terrestrial organisms is not scientifically justified.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Effects of long term use of urea fertiliser at 60, 120 and 180 kg N/ha/year was assessed on lumbricid earthworms in uncultivated turfgrass on loamy sand soil. The test sites were treated twice yearly for 20 years. Urea fertiliser reduced earthworm numbers and biomass and lowered pH. It was concluded that application of nitrogenous fertilisers for long periods may have a deleterious effect on earthworms in the absence of liming (Wei-Chum et al, 1990).