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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to microorganisms

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Description of key information

EC50 = 3536 mg/L, 5 min, pseudomonas (Rens)

EC50 = 5620 mg/L, 15 min, photobacterium phosphoreum (Hermens)

IC50 = 17000 mg/L, 15 h, aerobic heterotrophs (activated sludge culture) (Blum)

Key value for chemical safety assessment

EC50 for microorganisms:
3 536 mg/L

Additional information

Several "reference" substances were selected which were common to the general surveys of Ren (2002), Hermens (1985) and Blum (1991). All were roughly within an order of magnitude of each other, but demonstrated significant variance. The results for diethyl ether were similar for Ren and Hermens, while Blum's results were significantly higher. The study on a homologous series of ethers by Vermue (1993) indicated increasing toxicity with decreasing alkyl chain length. However, all effects were observed above the water solubility limit and when a second phase was present (i.e. > 62 g/L). Individual data for diethyl ether was not reported in the paper.

The worst case value (Rens) is selected as the value to carry forward.

All available evidence suggests that the toxicity of diethyl ether lies far above the regulatory cut-off limit of 100mg/L, and based on the weight-of-evidence, and in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006, Annex XI, 1.2, the available data is considered adequate for the purposes of risk assessment and classification and labelling.