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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2015 Dec;34(12):2723-31. doi: 10.1002/etc.2942. Epub 2015 Jul 24.

Fugacity and activity analysis of the bioaccumulation and environmental risks of decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5).

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School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Health & Environmental Sciences, Dow Corning, Midland, Michigan, USA.
Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Exponent, Bellevue, Washington, USA.


As part of an initiative to evaluate commercial chemicals for their effects on human and environmental health, Canada recently evaluated decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5; CAS no. 541-02-06), a high-volume production chemical used in many personal care products. The evaluation illustrated the challenges encountered in environmental risk assessments and the need for the development of better tools to increase the weight of evidence in environmental risk assessments. The present study presents a new risk analysis method that applies thermodynamic principles of fugacity and activity to express the results of field monitoring and laboratory bioaccumulation and toxicity studies in a comprehensive risk analysis that can support risk assessments. Fugacity and activity ratios of D5 derived from bioaccumulation measures indicate that D5 does not biomagnify in food webs, likely because of biotransformation. The fugacity and activity analysis further demonstrates that reported no-observed-effect concentrations of D5 normally cannot occur in the environment. Observed fugacities and activities in the environment are, without exception, far below those corresponding with no observed effects, in many cases by several orders of magnitude. This analysis supports the conclusion of the Canadian Board of Review and the Minister of the Environment that D5 does not pose a danger to the environment. The present study further illustrates some of the limitations of a persistence-bioaccumulation-toxicity-type criteria-based risk assessment approach and discusses the merits of the fugacity and activity approach to increase the weight of evidence and consistency in environmental risk assessments of commercial chemicals.


Biomagnification; Biotransformation; Persistent compounds; Risk assessment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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