Acute toxicity (fish)

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Term Acute toxicity (fish)
Definition The purpose of this test is to determine the acute lethal toxicity of a substance to fish in fresh water. It is desirable to have, as far as possible, information on the water solubility , vapour pressure, chemical stability, dissociation constants and biodegradability of the substance to help in the selection of the most appropriate test method (static, semi-static or flow-through) for ensuring satisfactorily constant concentrations of the test substance over the period of the test.

Additional information (for instance structural formula, degree of purity, nature and percentage of significant impurities, presence and amounts of additives, and n-octanol/water partition coefficient) should be taken into consideration in both the planning of the test and interpretation of the results.

Acute fish toxicity is expressed as the median lethal concentration (LC50), that is the concentration in water which kills 50% of a test batch of fish within a continuous period of exposure which must be stated.

All concentrations of the test substance are given in weight by volume (milligrams per liter). They may also be expressed as weight by weight (

A limit test may be performed at 100 mg per liter in order to demonstrate that the LC50 is greater than this concentration.

The fish are exposed to the test substance added to water at a range of concentrations for a period of 96 hours. Mortalities are recorded at least at 24-hour intervals, and the concentrations killing 50% of the fish (LC50) at each observation time are calculated where possible.

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Additional Information