Registration Dossier

Diss Factsheets

Ecotoxicological information

Endpoint summary

Administrative data

Description of key information

Additional information

Urea is of inherently low toxicity and is rapidly assimilated into the nitrogen cycle by soil microorganisms; exposure is therefore limited.

The 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).

Low phytotoxicity is predicted for urea: the substance is widely used as a plant nutrient (N-source) in fertiliser, hence toxicity is unlikely.

The results of a study in soy bean plants confirm the low toxicity of urea.

Urea is of inherently low toxicity to microorganisms as it is utilised as a nutrient and nitrogen source. Testing of toxicity to soil microorganisms is scientifically unjustified.


The limited data available indicate that urea is of low toxicity to birds. A waiver is proposed for this endpoint on grounds of exposure.