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Ecotoxicological information

Endpoint summary

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Additional information

Freshwater organisms effects dataset:

Individual NOEC/EC10values were collected and screened for quality and relevancy, which yielded high quality data covering many different species. The selected data set covers many different families, different trophic levels and feeding regimes. It should be noted that some reliable aquatic ecotoxicity data that passed the relevancy criteria were not included in PNEC derivation because they were obtained from tests in which the relevant geochemical parameters (pH and/or hardness) were outside of the BLM boundaries.

For algae, EC10values of Ni for chronic exposures conducted withPseudokirchneriella subcapitataranged from 25.3 to 425 µg Ni/L, with a median value of 88.2 µg Ni/L (n = 47). Chronic growth inhibition data (EC10) are also available for other additional freshwater algae species. These EC10values range from 12.3 µg Ni/L forScenedesmus accumulatesto 51.8 µg Ni/L forCoelastrum microporum. EC50values range from 58.8 µg Ni/L forChlamydymonas speciesand the highest EC50being 52300 µg Ni/L forAnacystis nidulans.For higher aquatic plants, chronic effects toLemna gibbaandLemna minorranged between6.11and 80 µg Ni/L and from 184-196 μg/L forSpirodela polyrhiza. 

Chronic nickel toxicity data are available for many invertebrate species. The large majority of data are from crustaceans, but data from insects, hydrozoans, and molluscs are also available. The NOEC/L(E)C10varied between 1.4 µg/L forLymnaea stagnalisand 1379µg/L forBrachionus calyciflorus

Chronic nickel toxicity data are available for different species of fish, with NOEC/LC10values ranging from 40 µg Ni/L forBrachydaniorerioto 15420 μg/l for theBrachydanio rerioNOEC/L(E)C10data are available for three species of amphibians, with values ranging from 84.5 µg Ni/L to 13,147 µg Ni/L, both values fromXenopus laevis.

In summary, NOEC/L(E)C10values for chronic nickel toxicity to aquatic organisms range from 1.4 µg Ni/L (L. stagnalis) to 13,147 µg Ni/L (X. laevis).

For acute toxicity to freshwater fish, there are many high quality studies.  This represents different freshwater fish species, dominated byPimephales promelas,Oncorhynchus mykiss, andCyprinus carpio.  The 96h LC50values range from 0.4 mg Ni/L (Pimephales promelas) to 320 mg Ni/L (Brachydaniorerio).  

For acute toxicity to freshwater invertebrates, there are many high quality studies which predominantly report the 48h LC50as the endpoint. Many species are represented in these studies, dominated byDaphnia magnaandCeriodaphnia dubia.  The 48h LC50values range from 0.013 mg Ni/L (Ceriodaphnia dubia) to 4970 mg Ni/L (Daphnia magna).

Many high quality acute toxicity values are available for different species of other aquatic organisms, with the lowest EC50being 146 µg Ni/L forXenopus laevis and the highest EC50being 3740 µg Ni/L forBufo terrestris. The LC50values range from 420 µg Ni/L forAmbystoma opacumto 21427 µg Ni/L forAmbystoma opacum.

Marine organisms effects database:

Effect data sets: The marine chronic ecotoxicity database is represented by many species of marine organisms from different families, and includes a wide range of taxonomic groups, including unicellular algae, macroalgae, crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms, and fish. Bioavailability correction was not implemented in selecting the marine effects data.

EC10values for different species of marine algae are reported, ranging from 97 µg Ni/L for growth of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) to 17891 µg Ni/L for growth of the dinoflagellate,Dunaliella tertiolecta. High quality EC50values are available for species of marine algae, with the lowest EC50being 456 µg Ni/L forChampia parvulaand the highest EC50being 4400 µg Ni/L forMacrocystic pyrifera.

NOEC/EC10/LOEC values are reported for marine invertebrates, ranging from 22.5 µg Ni/L for reproduction of the polychaete,Neanthes arenaceodentata, 431 μg Ni/L for development of the bivalve,Crassostrea gigas.

EC10values are reported for marine fish, ranging from 3599 µg Ni/L for growth of the topsmelt,Atherinops affinis, to 20760 µg Ni/L for growth of the sheepshead minnow,Cyprinodon variegatus.

In summary, the chronic EC10data used in the derivation of the HC5(50%) for the marine compartment ranged from 22.5 µg Ni/L forNeanthes arenaceodentatato 20,760 µg Ni/L forCyprinodon variegatus.  

For acute toxicity to marine fish, there are high quality studies that represent different marine fish species.  The 96h LC50values range from24.8 mg Ni/L (Fundulus heteroclitus; Bielmyeret al., 2013)to 350 mg Ni/L (Fundulus heteroclitus).  

For acute toxicity to marine invertebrates, there are many high quality studies which report predominantly 48h LC50and 48h EC50as the endpoint. Many different species are represented in these studies. The 48h LC50values range from 0.07 mg/L (Diadema savigny) to 415 mg/L (Penaeus duorarum).

Effects assessment for aquatic micro-organisms in sewage treatment plants (STP)

Only a few internationally accepted test methods, such as the OECD N° 209 (inhibition of respiration of activated sludge) and ISO N° 9509 (inhibition of nitrification) exist. Short-term measurements (in terms of hours) are preferred, generally corresponding with typical retention times in biological STPs. The TGD (EC, 2003) suggests 10 has a preferable test duration. Furthermore, the information available has to be relevant for the processes that are potentially at risk of disruption,e.g., microbial degradation activity in an STP. To assess risks to these processes, microbial endpoints such as respiration and nitrification inhibition are considered to be the most relevant. Testing using a mixed microbial inoculum is considered more relevant than using single-species inoculum. Thus information reported on individual bacterial species like Microtox (withVibrio fisheriastest organism),Pseudomonas putida,Pseudomonas fluorescensand evenEscherichia coliare therefore considered as less relevant than those from mixed inoculum.

Studies assessing the effects of nickel on ciliated protozoa (preferablyT. pyriformis) and respiration/nitrification using bacteria originating from sewage treatment plants were regarded as directly relevant for the derivation of a PNEC STP. The key publication selected for Ni-PNEC STP derivation is Cokgoret al(2007). No other PNEC relevant studies that investigated the effects of Ni on bacterial populations were identified. However, the other studies in the database not deemed directly relevant, supported the relevancy and the conservative nature of an EC50of 33 mg/L.