Halogenated ethers in freshwater and marine water
Toxicant default guideline values for protecting aquatic ecosystems
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
Halogenated ethers (halothers) are used in industrial organic synthesis, textile manufacture, pesticide manufacture, and as solvents for polymerisation reactions (USEPA 1980m, 1980n). Chloroethers appear to be the most important haloethers used commercially (USEPA 1980m). Haloethers may enter the aquatic environment in the discharge from industrial and manufacturing processes (CCREM 1987). The fate of these compounds in the aquatic environment is not well understood, and little information is available on either biodegradation or bioaccumulation.
The only toxicity data for haloethers other than chloroalkyl ethers are for 4-bromophenylphenyl ether. The chronic lowest observed effect level (LOEL) concentration for 4-bromophenylphenyl ether in freshwater is 12,000 µg/L (USEPA 1980m), whereas the acute LOEL concentration for chloroalkyl ethers in freshwater is 238,000 µg/L (USEPA 1980n). Given the paucity of data and the absence of no observed effect concentration (NOEC) data, environmental concern levels (ECLs) could be derived from dividing each of these figures by 1000.
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.
CCREM 1987. Canadian water quality guidelines. Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers, Ontario.
USEPA 1980m. Ambient water quality criteria for haloethers. Criteria and Standards Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC. EPA-440/5-80-030.
USEPA 1980n. Ambient water quality criteria for chloroalkyl ethers. Criteria and Standards Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC. EPA-440/5-80-050.