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The aquatic toxicity of L-lactic acid is primarily related to its effects on pH of the test solution. This is clearly evidenced by the large discrepancy between the toxicity to aquatic organisms of lactic acid and salts like sodium lactate. D- and L-lactic acid have identical pKa values. Furthermore, both L- and D-lactic acid are ubiquitous and essential molecules in all biological systems, and organisms are continuously exposed to significant internal and external background concentrations of L- as well as D-lactic acid. As such information on the aquatic toxicity of L-lactic acid is fully valid for D-lactic acid.

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