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Short-term toxicity to fish

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Description of key information

With high probability acutely not harmful to fish

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Fresh water fish

Fresh water fish
Dose descriptor:
LC50
Remarks:
96 h
Effect concentration:
460 mg/L

Additional information

LC50 values of two acute fish toxicity tests covering two different species range from 460 to 1460 mg/L.


The lowest effect value was determined in a guideline study (Environment Canada EPS 1/RM/9, 1990/1996) with Oncorhynchus mykiss as test species. The fish were exposed to a series of 5 test concentrations and a control in a static approach. The 96-h LC50 was 460 mg/L (nominal, analytically verified; PTAC, 2006). This study was selected as key study.


In a static test according to ASTM-Standard E 729-80 (1980), the acute toxicity of diethanolamine to Pimephales promelas was assessed. Fry (n = 20 per test vessel), juvenile and subadult fish (n = 10 per test vessel) were exposed for 96 hours to various nominal concentrations of diethanolamine and to control water. The test concentrations were not pH-adjusted. Measured pH values ranged from 8 to 10.5. Therefore, it is likely that alkaline pH-effects might have contributed to the observed mortality. Based on nominal concentrations, the geometric mean of the 96 hour LC50 values was 1460 mg/L (95% CL: 1200 - 1990 mg/L) (Mayes et al., 1983).


The supporting study was performed without analytical monitoring, however, from the available acute and chronic toxicity studies on fish, aquatic invertebrates and algae, conducted with analytical monitoring (PTAC, 2006; BASF AG, 1992, Rep. no 92/1444/51/1; Libralato, 2010), it can be deduced that diethanolamine is rather stable in static test systems for at least 48 hours. Moreover, the stability of diethanolamine in the test medium is considered to be stable due to the high water solubility (WS = 1E+06 mg/L), the low vapour pressure (VP = 8.5E-05 hPa at 20°C) and the low Henry´s law constant (HLC (uncharged): 3.97E-06 Pa*m3/mol; pH-corrected HLC (pH 5-9): 4.06E-10 to 2.01E-06 Pa*m3/mol) of the substance.


Based on the result of the key and the supporting study, diethanolamine is with high probability acutely not harmful to fish.

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