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Ecotoxicological information

Short-term toxicity to fish

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Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Brooke (1993) presented results with the preferred species, Pimephales promelas, of 96hr EC50 (growth) = 0.096 mg/L nonylphenol .  Test was performed according to ASTM 1991 E729-88a Standard guide for conducting acute toxicity tests with fishes, macroinvertebrates, and amphibians.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Fresh water fish

Fresh water fish
Effect concentration:
0.096 mg/L

Marine water fish

Marine water fish
Effect concentration:
0.017 mg/L

Additional information

Six reliable 96-hr toxicity studies that included 18 freshwater species from 14 genera and 4 saltwater species were selected to represent the acute response of fish to nonylphenol. Species included the preferred test species Pimephales promelas and the salmonid,Onchorhynchus mykiss. Survival L(E)C50concentration for freshwater fish ranged from 0.05 mg nonylphenol/L for Acipenser oxyrhinchus (Dwyer et al., 2005) to 0.37 mg nonylphenol/L for Puntius conchonius (Battacharya et al., 2008) Gila elegans (Dwyer et al., 2005). Saltwater species L(E)C50concentration ranged from 0.017 mg nonylphonol/L for Pleuronectes americanus (Lussier et al., 2000) to 0.48 mg nonylphenol/L for Cyprinodon bovines (Dwyer et al., 2005). The 96-hr nonylphenol exposure LC50concentration for the preferred species Pimephales promelas ranged from 0.128 to 0.27 mg nonylphenol/L.  


Two key studies for short-term exposure to nonylphenol were selected that included Brooke (1993a) because nonylphenol toxicity information was provided for the preferred species fathead minnow Pimephales promelas. This study also provided information on the bluegill and rainbow trout and indicated these fish were less sensitive than the fathead minnow to toxic effects of nonylphenol. Dwyer et al., (2005) was also selected as a key study because of the significant amount of nonylphenol toxicity data this study provided. Toxicity test result information by Dwyer et al., (2005) included the preferred species Pimephales promelasas well as 15 other freshwater fish species and two hard/saltwater fish species. Sensitivity ranking based on LC50concentration test results by Dwyer et al., (2005) indicated the LC50concentration of 0.27 mg nonylphenol/L to the preferred test species Pimephales promelas was ranked 15thout of 18 fish species with Acipenser oxyrhynchus ranked the most sensitive.The supporting study results of TenEyck and Markee (2007) indicted an LC50 concentration of 0.136 mg nonylphenol/L for Pimephales promelas that was in close agreement with the LC50

0.128 mg nonylphenol value presented by Brooke (1993). Supporting study results by Bhattacharya et al., (2008) indicated acute exposure to nonylphenol can include non-lethal histopathological alterations, and the LC50 concentrationof 0.397 mg nonylphenol/L for Puntius conchonius (Cyprinidae) expanded the range of variability to 0.08-0.29 mg nonylphenol/L) for other Cyprinidae reported by Dwyer et al., (2005). LC50 concentration data reported by Lussier et al., (2000) and Dwyer et al., (2005) for a variety of fish suggest freshwater species tested were generally more sensitive to nonylphenol exposure than the marine species.