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Ecotoxicological information

Short-term toxicity to fish

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Description of key information

The acute toxicities of lithium myristate, lithium 12-hydroxystearate and lithium behenate to fish showed no effects at a water accommodated fraction loading rate of 100 mg/L. Therefore, the 96 hour LL50 is determined to be > 100 mg/L WAF for all three substances.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

The acute toxicities to fish were determined in GLP-compliant, limit tests (Harlan 2013) following OECD guideline 203. As no effects were observed in the Daphnia and algae toxicity tests or the preliminary range finding tests for acute toxicity to fish, the definitive toxicity to fish tests were all conducted as limit tests at 100 mg/L alongside a blank control. Seven fish were exposed to water accommodated fractions of lithium myristate, lithium 12-hydroxystearate and lithium behenate for 96 hours in standard ecotoxicity media adjusted to a hardness of approximately 150 mg/L CaCO3. Observations of mortalities or abnormalities of behaviour or appearance of the fish were made at 3, 6, 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours and the test solutions analysed for lithium content and total organic carbon at test initiation and termination. None of the acute toxicity to fish studies for lithium myristate, lithium 12-hydroxystearate and lithium behenate showed any effects at 100 mg/L WAF.

These results are supported by the data reviewed in the API (2008) and HPV Characterisation (2003, 2009) documents, reporting the acute toxicity to fish of lithium 12-hydroxystearate to give a 96 hour LC50 of >2000 mg/L. Only a summary of the study from a secondary source is available and although the original proprietary study (Stonybrook 1992b) has not been reviewed, the API gave a Klimisch score of 2, “test not conducted under full GLP regulations”.

Lithium myristate, the shortest carbon chain length substance in the category, lithium 12-hydroxysterate, with intermediate carbon chain length, and lithium behenate, the longest carbon chain length substance in the category, all have 96 hour LL50s of >100 mg/L WAF to fish. As none of these substances are acutely toxic to fish, it can be justifiably expected that the remaining substances in the category with intervening carbon chain lengths will not be acutely toxic to fish either.

References

HPV(High Production Volume Chemical Challenge Program) (2003) Test plan: Fatty acids, lithium and calcium salts used as grease thickeners. Submitted to the US EPA by the Petroleum HPV Testing Group. Consortium Registration. Report reference: 201-15019A. 31st December 2003.

HPV (High Production Volume Chemical Challenge Program) (2009) Lubricating Grease Thickeners CAD. Category analysis and hazard characterisation: Fatty acids, lithium and calcium salts used as lubricating grease thickeners. Submitted to the US EPA by the Petroleum HPV Testing Group. Consortium registration number 1100997. 9th February 2009.