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Environmental fate & pathways

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Description of key information

Based on the physical-chemical properties (insolubility, no vapour pressure) it is expected that non-nanoforms carbon black will not occur in air or water in relevant amounts. Also, the potential for distribution via water or air, respectively, can be dismissed. The deposition in soil or sediments is therefore the most relevant compartment of fate of carbon black in the environment. Carbon is widely distributed in nature and an essential element in the components of all living organisms.

Additional information

Carbon black (non-nanoform) is essentially elemental carbon and contains no water-soluble groups, e.g. alcohols, ethers, esters, or acids. It therefore is insoluble in water and stable against hydrolysis. It cannot further be degraded by light or light and reactive species by photodegradation in air or surface water. Carbon black is also insoluble in all organic solvents, and its vapour pressure is negligible. These physical-chemical properties are the reason why important parameters like water solubility, octanol/water partition coefficient, dissociation constant or adsorption/desorption which are relevant for environmental fate and distribution cannot be measured analytically in water or organic solvent, like octanol. Based on these properties (insolubility, negligible vapour pressure) it is expected that carbon black will not occur in air or water in relevant amounts. Also, a relevant distribution via water or air can be dismissed. The deposition on soil or sediments is therefore the most relevant compartment of fate of carbon black in the environment. However, carbon is widely distributed in nature and an essential element in the components of all living organisms.