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Effects on fertility

Description of key information

No toxicity data on adverse effects on sexual function and fertility with zinc m-toluate are available, thus the reproductive toxicity will be addressed with existing data on the individual moieties zinc and m-toluate. Based on an absence of adverse effects seen in the developmental toxicity/fertility screening study with zinc and m-toluate, a classification for reproductive toxicity in accordance with regulation (EC) 1272/2008 is not warranted.

Effect on fertility: via oral route
Endpoint conclusion:
no adverse effect observed
Effect on fertility: via inhalation route
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available
Effect on fertility: via dermal route
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available
Additional information

Zinc

Animal data

The reproductive toxicity of zinc compounds has been investigated in one and two generation reproductive toxicity studies in which rats or mice were dosed by gavage or via the diet with soluble zinc compounds (i. e., zinc chloride, zinc sulphate) at exposure levels up to 14 mg Zn/kg bw/day (gavage) or 200 mg Zn/kg bw/day (diet) (Khan et al., 2001, 2003, 2007; Samanta et al, 1986). Further information on potential effects of zinc compounds on male or female reproductive organs could be retrieved from subchronic toxicity studies as conducted by Maita et al. (1981) and Edwards and Buckley (1995).

Maita et al. (1981) reported that mice and rats fed with zinc sulphate in dietary concentrations up to 30,000 mg/kg feed did not produce adverse effects on either male or female sex organs after 13 weeks of exposure. This dietary level was equal to ca. 1100 mg or 565 mg Zn/kg bw/day for mice and rats, respectively. Edwards and Buckley (1995) showed that rats exposed to 13 or 60 mg Zn/kg bw/day in the diet over a period of 90 days did not show any detrimental effects on sex organs. In the exposure group of 335 mg Zn/kg bw/day, all males showed hypoplasia in testes and seminiferous tubules in males hypoplastic uterus in females, but these findings are not considered reliable as the animals of this high dose group were generally of poor health conditions and killed for humane reasons prior to study termination.

In addition to those key reproductive toxicity studies (Khan et al.,2001, 2003, 2007; Samanta et al, 1986), some additional studies indicating high oral doses of zinc (i.e., exposures greater that 25 mg day/kg bw/day) to impair fertility as indicated by a decreased number of implantations sites and increased number of resorptions are of note:

A study was carried out to determine the effect of zinc supplementation on the number of implantation sites and resorptions in pregnant rats. The control group consisting of 12 pregnant females was maintained on 10 % vegetable protein diet (containing 30 ppm zinc) from Day 1 through Day 18 of pregnancy. The experimental group consisting of 13 animals was also maintained on the same diet but received additionally 150 ppm zinc as a 2% zinc sulphate solution administered daily orally. All the animals were sacrificed on Day 18 of pregnancy, and their uteri examined for implantation sites and resorptions. Of a total number of 101 implantation sites in the 12 control animals there were two resorptions, one in each of two animals. In marked contrast, in the 13 zinc supplemented animals, there were 11 resorptions out of 116 implantations. Eight of the animals had at least one resorption each. This difference was statistically significant. The result indicates that oral administration of moderately high levels of zinc (150 ppm) may be associated with harmful effects in the course of pregnancy of rat (Kumar et al., 1976). The low protein diet may have affected the physiology of the animals resulting in an increased sensitivity for zinc. As this hypothesis cannot be further assessed and also considering the limited available study information, this study is only of limited validity for the assessment of effects of zinc exposure on fertility (EU RAR, 2004).

Another study aimed at determining the effect of post-coitum, and pre- and post-coitum dietary zinc supplementation on the conception in the Charles-Foster rat. In the post-coitum study (test 1), two groups of 15 pregnant rats were fed 0 and 4,000 ppm zinc as zinc sulphate in diet (i.e., approximately 200 mg Zn/kg bw/day) from day 1 through day 18 of pregnancy. In the pre- and post-coitum study (test 2), two groups of 15 female rats were treated with same doses for 21 days pre-mating period, maximum 5 days of mating period and 18 days of post-coitum period. All the females were sacrificed on Day 18 of gestation and uterus content and fetuses were examined. In test 1, significant decrease in the incidences of conception and number of implantation sites per mated female was observed in the treatment group with respect to the control group. However, the difference in implantation sites when considered per pregnant female was not significant. In test 2, no significant difference in incidences of conception and implantation sites was observed in the control and treatment groups. In both the tests, there was no treatment-related change in the fetal and placental weights, stillbirths and malformed fetuses were absent and the number of resorption sites was negligible. Based on these results, dietary zinc supplementation at 4,000 ppm did not affect the fetal growth in pregnant rats. This dose, however, altered the normal conception when started after coitus but showed no effect when initiated sufficient time before coitus (Pal et al., 1987).

The available information suggests that high oral doses of zinc (i. e., exposure levels greater than 20 mg Zn/kg bw/day) may adversely affect spermatogenesis and result in impaired fertility indicated by decreased number of implantation sites and increased number of resorptions (US EPA, 2005). However, these effects were only observed in the presence of maternal toxicity as seen in the one or two generation studies conducted by Khan et al. (2001, 2003, 2007) or, in case of the study conducted by Kumar et al. (1976), when other study non-zinc relevant study specificities could have impacted the study outcome.

 

Human information

In reviews by the World Health Organisation in the Environmental Health Criteria for Zinc (WHO, 2001) and by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in the Toxicity Profile for Zinc (ATSDR, 2005), existing human studies which examined the responses of women to zinc supplementation during pregnancy have been summarised. Studies on large controlled trials that were conducted to investigate the effects of dietary zinc supplementation in healthy pregnant women were peer reviewed. The reviewers concluded that zinc at a rate of 20mg/day and 30 mg/day did not result in any adverse reproductive effects during pregnancy (Hunt et al.,1984; Kynast and Saling et al.,1986). Two exemplar studies are summarised in the following:

A double-blind trial was conducted in 56 pregnant women at risk of delivering a small for gestational-age baby to determine the effects of dietary zinc supplementation during the last 15-25 weeks of pregnancy following administration of 22.5 mg zinc/day. No adverse reproductive effects were observed (Simmer et al.,1991).

Pregnant women who received 0.3 mg zinc/kg bw/day as zinc sulphate capsules during the last two trimesters did not exhibit any changes in maternal body weight gain, blood pressure, postpartum haemorrhage or infection, indicating no adverse reproductive effects (Mahomed et al.,1989).

 

 

m-toluate

In the combined repeated dose/ reproductive and developmental toxicity test (OECD 422; GLP), rats were exposed to 30, 100, 300 and 1000 mg/kg bw/day m-toluic acid for 41 to 45 days. Reproductive parameters in parental animals were examined and no adverse effects were observed. Offspring parameters were examined and no adverse effects were observed. Thus, the reproductive NOAEL was considered at 1000 mg/kg bw/day.

 

Zinc m-toluate

Since no reproductive toxicity study is available for zinc m-toluate, information on the individual moieties zinc and m-toluate will be used for the hazard assessment of zinc m-toluate. For the purpose of hazard assessment of zinc m-toluate, the point of departure for the most sensitive endpoint of each moiety will be used for the DNEL derivation.

The most sensitive endpoint for the moiety zinc was observed for human data on lifetime oral ingestion (NOAEL(zinc) of 0.83 mg/kg bw/day). The most sensitive endpoint for the moiety m-toluate was observed in aCombined Repeated Dose Toxicity Study with the Reproduction / Developmental Toxicity Screening(NOAEL(m-toluate) of 100 mg/kg bw/day).

Effects on developmental toxicity

Effect on developmental toxicity: via oral route
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available
Effect on developmental toxicity: via inhalation route
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available
Effect on developmental toxicity: via dermal route
Endpoint conclusion:
no study available

Justification for classification or non-classification

Due to an absence of adverse effects seen in the developmental toxicity/fertility screening study with zinc and m-toluate, a classification for reproductive toxicity in accordance with regulation (EC) 1272/2008 is not warranted. For further information on the toxicity of the individual assessment entities, please refer to the relevant sections in the IUCLID and CSR.

Zinc m-toluate is not to be classified according to regulation (EC) 1272/2008 as toxic for reproduction.

Additional information