Chlorinated naphthalenes in freshwater and marine water

​Toxicant default guideline values for protecting aquatic ecosystems

October 2000

Extracted from Section 8.3.7 ‘Detailed descriptions of chemicals’ of the ANZECC & ARMCANZ (2000) guidelines.

The default guideline values (previously known as ‘trigger values’) and associated information in this technical brief should be used in accordance with the detailed guidance provided in the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality.

Description of chemical

Chlorinated naphthalenes consist of two fused aromatic carbon rings with any or all of the eight hydrogen atoms replaced with chlorine. The commercial products are usually mixtures with various degrees of chlorination. Mixtures of trichloronaphthalenes and tetrachloronaphthalenes comprise the bulk of commercial use as paper impregnates in automobile capacitors. Other mixtures are used as oil additives for engine cleaning and in fabric dying (USEPA 1980f).

Limited data exist on the toxicity of these compounds for aquatic organisms. The available data indicate that acute toxicity occurs at concentrations of 1600 µg/L for Daphnia magna exposed to 1-chloronaphthalene (USEPA 1980f). Acute toxicity to saltwater aquatic life occurred at concentrations as low as 7.5 µg/L (USEPA 1986). No data are available concerning the chronic toxicity of chlorinated naphthalenes (USEPA 1986).

1-Chloronaphthalene (CAS 90-13-1)

Aquatic toxicology

Freshwater fish: one species, Lepomis macrochirus, 96-h LC50, 2300 µg/L.

Freshwater crustacean: one species, D. magna, 48-h-LC50, 1600 µg/L.

Marine fish: one species, Cyprinodon variegatus, 48-96-h LC50, 690-2500 µg/L.


There were insufficient data to derive a reliable trigger value for 1-chloronaphthalene. Hence low reliability trigger values of 1.6 µg/L (freshwater) and 0.7 µg/L (marine) were calculated using an assessment factor (AF) of 1000. These should be used as indicative interim working levels only.

Table 8.3.18 Toxicity data from short-term toxicity tests considered for trigger value (TV) derivations for chlorobenzenes: monochlorobenzene (CB) to trichlorobenzenes (TCB) (All figures in µg/L). TVs recommended for slightly-moderately disturbed ecosystems.
Toxicant and CAS no. CB (108-90-7) 1,2-DCB (95-50-1) 1,3-DCB (541-73-1) 1,4-DCB (106-46-7) 1,2,3-TCB (87-61-6) 1,2,4-TCB 1,3,5-TCB
Fish 1-4 d 660-45,500 (n=7) 1580-76,300 (n=5) 5000-9120 (n=2) 1180-35,400 (n=6) 279-3100 (n=3) 1100-6300 (n=6)
Crustaceans 1-2 d 585-86,000 (n=2) 740-2400 (n=1) 1300-7400a (n=1) 700-11,000 (n=1) 1163-2180 (n=1) 1700-50,000 (n=2)
Other inverts. 2-4 d 12 000
1200-13 000
Algae or ciliate
1-5 d EC50
12,500-33,000 (n=1) 2200-76,100 (n=2) 19,000-114,000 (n=2) 1600-96,700 (n=4) 900 (n=1) 8400 (n=2) 9070 (n=1)
TV Fresh (Mod reliab.) 160 (SD) 260 (SD) 60 (SD) 3 (SD) 85 (SD)
TV Fresh (Low reliab.) 55 (Q;SD) 8 (Q; SD)
Fish 5820-10,000 (n=1) 4200-9700 (n=4) 7800-8000 (n=1) 7400 (n=1)   300-21,000 (n=2)
Crustaceans 16,300-41,000 (n=2) 1900-10,300 n=3) 2850 (n=1) 740-69,000 (n=4) 561 (n=1) 540-2600 (n=3)
Other inverts 890-930 (n=2) 100 (n=1)
Algae 38,000-220,000 (n=1) 7600-44,200 (n=2) 5280 (n=1) 54,800 (n=1) 8750 (n=1)
TV Marine (Mod reliab.) - - - 20 (SD)
TV Marine (Low reliab.) 55 (f) 160 (f) 260 (f) 60  (f) 3 (f) 8 (f)

a = 1 x 48-h LC50 of 28,000 µg/L; AF = AF method used; SD = statistical distribution method, 95% protection for mono- and di-CBs and 99% for  tri-CBs (potential bioaccumulators); High, Mod, Low refers to reliability of TV; Q = QSAR-derived; f = freshwater TV adopted; c = AF of 20 applied to lowest of 3 chronic; d = AF of 20 applied to P. pelagicus chronic (Australian).

Table 8.3.19 Toxicity data from short-term tests considered for trigger value (TV) derivations for chlorobenzenes: tetrachlorobenzenes (TeCB) to hexachlorobenzene (HCB) (figures in µg/L)
Toxicant and CAS no. 1,2,3,4-TeCB (634-66-2) 1,2,3,5-TeCB (634-90-2) 1,2,4,5-TeCB (95-94-3) PeCB (608-93-5) HCB (118-74-1)
Algae 460-9600* (n=2) 14 (n=1)
Crustaceans 180–1080 (n=2) 860-1730 (n=1) 300-5300* (n=2) Chronic (n=1)
Other invertebrates 540–730
230 (n=1)
Fish 245-1100  (n=3) 830 (n=1) 1600-10,000* (n=3) 135-250 n=2 12,000-22,000* (n=4)
TV Fresh µg/L Low 2 (Q; SD) 3 (Q; SD) 5 (Q; SD) 1.5 (Q; SD) 0.05 (Q; SD)
Algae 830 (n=1) 7100* (n=1) 2230* (n=1)
Crustaceans 410 (n=1) 340 (n=1) 1480* (n=1) 87-160 (n=2)
Fish 3700 (n=1) 330-900* (n-1) 80-800 (n=1)
TV Marine µg/L Low 2 (f) 3 (f) 5 (f) 1.5 (f) 0.05 (f)

* Exceeds solubility by >2 x ; (*) upper figures exceed solubility; AF = AF method used; SD = statistical distribution method, 99% protection recommended for slightly-moderately disturbed systems; Low = low reliability TV for slightly-moderately disturbed systems; Q = QSAR-derived; f = adopted from freshwater.


ANZECC & ARMCANZ 2000. Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality, Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand, Canberra.

USEPA 1980f. Ambient water quality criteria for chlorinated naphthalenes. Criteria and Standards Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.

USEPA 1986. Quality criteria for water. US Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, Springfield, Virginia. PB87-226759, EPA 440/5 86-001.