In 2003, risk assessment in the EU was extended to include the marine environment. This acknowledged that there are additional concerns for the risk assessment of the marine environment which may not be adequately addressed in the methodologies used for freshwater environments.
In recognising this increased focus on protecting the marine environment, a task force was established as part of ECETOC’s on-going activities to improve understanding of the persistence of chemicals in the environment. The task force compared the available marine, estuarine and freshwater biodegradation data to determine if a scientific basis for extrapolation between the environmental compartments existed.
Quality control and assurance criteria were established for the identification of suitable non-standard biodegradation test data and the ECETOC Marine Biodegradation Kinetics database (EMBK), which consists of >800 data, was prepared. These data have been used to review the scientific basis of the REACH default values and the task force has concluded that the default rate constants for readily biodegradable chemicals should be reconsidered when the next revision of the REACH technical guidance documents is conducted.