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Environmental fate & pathways

Endpoint summary

Administrative data

Description of key information

Additional information

The bioaccumulation of naphthalene has been studied on several species – carp (Cyprinus carpio), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus).

A flow through system has been applied to investigate the accumulation of naphthalene in carp (Cyprinus carpio) (CITI 1992). After exposure to 0.15 mg/l naphthalene for 8 weeks, bioconcentration factors in the range from 36.5 to 168 have been derived.

In a subsequent study, coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus) were exposed to a naphthalene concentration of 3 μg/l in water (Roubal et al., 1978). The test sample originated from the water-soluble fraction (WSF) of Prudhoe Bay crude oil, which the fish were exposed to in flowing seawater for 6 and 2 weeks. The bioconcentration factor (on a dry weight basis) in muscle tissue of coho salmon after 6 weeks exposure was 40. Accumulated naphthalene (maximum concentration: 0.24 ppm after 5 weeks) in coho salmon exposed for six weeks fell below limits of detection within a week when fish were transferred to clean water. Starry flounder exposed for two weeks retained inconsiderable concentrations (0.8 ppm) of naphthalene in muscle two weeks after the termination of exposure. After two weeks of exposure to naphthalene, bioconcentration factors in the liver, gill and muscle of starry flounder were 1,100, 250 and 240, respectively.

Apart from these studies, UK (2007) states that "ECB (2003) gives the BCF for naphthalene in fish as 427 l/kg, with values of up to 1,158 L/kg being determined for individual tissues. ECB (2008) gives the range of reliable values for the BCF for naphthalene in fish as between 300 and 1,000 l/kg".

Neither risk assessment report refers to the investigations addressed here.

However, based on the numerous derived bioconcentration factors in various fish species, it can be concluded that naphthalene exhibits a low bioaccumulation potential. --------------------------------


UK 2007: Environment Addendum of December 2007 to the EU Risk Assessment of naphthalene, final approved version. UK Environment Agency, Chemicals Assessment Unit [R020_0712_env].

ECB 2003: European Union Risk Assessment Report: Naphthalene. 1st Priority List, Volume 33. European Commission, Joint Research Centre, EUR 20763 EN.

ECB 2008: European Union Risk Assessment Report: Coal-tar pitch, high temperature. Draft environmental risk assessment report. Rapporteur: The Netherlands. European Chemicals Bureau. [R323_0805_ENV_FINAL_ECB.DOC]