CLP Environmental Hazards

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There are only a few environmental hazards from chemicals covered by CLP-GHS, which are:

  • short term (acute) aquatic toxicity
  • long term (chronic) aquatic toxicity

Aquatic toxicity covers hazards to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and aquatic plants.

Strictly speaking, hazards to the ozone layer are classed as “other hazards” under CLP, but for practical purposes we have included them in the Environment category in the CLP Knowledgebase.

This means that a great many environmental effects have not been covered in GHS-CLP, including hazards to:

  • birds
  • bees and other insects
  • worms, mites and other soil organisms
  • mammals
  • reptiles
  • terrestrial plants

In effect, only the water environment is included in CLP-GHS, and species living on or in land and air environments are ignored (apart from harm to the ozone layer).  However, tests on other ecosystem plants and animals may be required under REACH, so if you need this data it may be available for substances which have gone through REACH registration.

There are the three basic “trophic levels”, that is “feeding levels” in the aquatic ecosystem: plants, which are the producers, creating energy from sunlight; primary consumers, such as invertebrates who feed on the plants; and secondary consumers, who feed on the primary consumers.  By including all three trophic levels in aquatic toxicity, the effects of a substance on the whole aquatic ecosystem can be summarised.

In terms  of environmental impact, a pollution incident affecting one level also affects the level(s) above it, but not the level(s) below it, so if all the aquatic plants are killed, this affects the invertebrates and fish as well; but if the fish are killed, it does not necessarily mean that the invertebrates or plants are adversely affected.  Of course, some environmental pollutants will affect more than one trophic level, or all three levels adversely.

trophic levels in the aquatic environment v1.2

Trophic levels in the aquatic environment (click to download pdf)

land air and water v1.2

Land, Air and Water hazards (click to download pdf)

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