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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to soil macroorganisms except arthropods

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Description of key information

In total 36 individual high quality NOEC/EC10 values (for 9 different species) are selected for the PNEC derivation, ranging from 5.2 mg B/kg dw  for Eisenia andrei growth to 315 mg B/kg for Eisenia andrei survival (Stantec Consulting & Aquaterra Environmental Consulting, 2003).

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Boric acid and borates have been registered as pesticides effective against a number of terrestrial insects, for example cockroaches, termites and ants. However the studies that establish efficacy as a pesticide are not relevant for use in describing ecotoxicological responses from boron present in soil because these pesticide studies typically involve use of a specially formulated diet or bait or treated article.

For example, Durmuş and Büyükgüzel (2008) reported effects on survival and development of larvae of the Greater Wax Moth,Galleria mellonella, when fed artificial diets containing 0.2 % sodium tetraborate. No effects were observed when fed 0.1 % sodium tetraborate. Yang et al. (2000) reported reduction in survival and reproduction of the Caribbean fruit flyAnastrepha suspensawhen fed 0.1 to 0.5 % sodium tetraborate. Since the diets were not soil-based (as might occur for an earthworm), such studies cannot be relied upon for derivation of a PNECsoil. The critical boron concentrations in food (approx. 0.1 % or 1000 mg B/kg) are orders of magnitude above the soil effects concentrations of boron for invertebrates (5-300 mg B/kg). Because boron does not magnify through the food-chain and soil to plant bioaccumulation factors for boron derived from tests performed in real soils are generally < 100 and internal boron concentrations in plants are largely controlled by plant-specific requirements for this essential element, it can be concluded that the secondary poisoning of insects through plant material is not critical for boron.