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Environmental fate & pathways

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No experimental data on the whole body accumulation of synthetic amorphous silica (SAS) are available for aquatic or terrestrial species. Due to its inherent chemico-physical properties, such as absence of lipophilicity as well as the capability of the organims to excrete absorbed SiO2 components, bioaccumulation can be disregarded. Furthermore, dissolved silica (i.e. monomeric or oligomeric silicic acid) can be actively assimilated by terrestrial plants (e.g. grass) and freshwater and marine organisms (e.g. diatoms, radiolarians, and sponges). These are natural processes that are, in most cases, related to structural function (OECD 2004).

Basically, amorphous silica is a naturally occurring substance. Silica and silicic acid (silicate) are found throughout the Earth’s lithosphere and the ocean contains a huge sink of them. The synthetic form (SAS) is of higher purity than the naturally occurring amorphous silica and does not contain contaminants. Once released and dissolved in the environment no distinction can be made between SAS and naturally occuring amorphous silica due to its chemical analogy in natural environmental processes (i.e. enviornmental fate and pathways).

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