Dichlorobenzidine 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

Dichlorobenzidine is used in the production of dyes and pigments and as a curing agent for polyurethanes (USEPA 1980k). There are few data available on the bioconcentration and bioaccumulation of dichlorobenzidine in the aquatic environment. Dichlorobenzidine has been shown to bioconcentrate in fish to a significant degree, approximately 1150 fold (USEPA 1980k). Little information is available regarding the toxicity of dichlorobenzidine to freshwater and saltwater organisms. Acute toxicity to bluegill sunfish occurs at concentrations as low as 500 µg/L (USEPA 1980k). Dichlorobenzidine has a log Kow of 3.51.


It was not possible to screen the USEPA data in the current revision. An environmental concern level (ECL) value (Section of the ANZECC & ARMCANZ 2000 guidelines) of 0.5 µg/L is suggested for both freshwaters and marine waters, for use as indicative interim working levels.


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 1980k. Ambient water quality criteria for dichlorobenzidine. Criteria and Standards Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.