Aquatic toxicityGo to:

What are aquatic toxicants? subir

Chemicals included in the category of aquatic toxicity represent a substantial damage to living organisms and human health through aquatic exposure. Effects include among others, damage to the reproductive, immune, endocrine and/or nervous systems, cancer and even death.

What to do?subir

The release of any of these substances into waterways must be avoided. In case of accidental spillage cleaning must be carried out using absorbent materials instead of rinsing or pouring jets of water.

In the case of substances included in the list of priority hazardous chemicals under EU water policies, elimination or substitution must be recommended according to the principles stated in Directive 2000/60/EC about “the cessation or phasing-out of discharges, emissions and losses of the substances, including an appropriate timetable for doing so. The timetable shall not exceed 20 years after the adoption of these proposals by the European Parliament and the Council”.


To identify aquatic toxic substances, Former Dangerous Substances Directive, known as DSD (67/548/EEC) and the new Regulation 1272/2008 (commonly known as CLP) set pictograms and the following risk phrases ® and hazard statements (H):

  • R50 Very toxic to aquatic organisms

  • R51 Toxic to aquatic organisms

  • R53 may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment

  • H400 Very toxic to aquatic life

  • H410 Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects

  • H411 Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects

Other governmental institutions have set priority lists of this type of substances:

  • EU Water Directive

The list includes priority hazardous chemicals a according to the Decision No 2455/2001/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2001 establishing the list of priority substances in the field of water policy and amending Directive 2000/60/EC.

  • Substances dangerous to water (German Federal Ministry of the Environment)

The list includes substances dangerous to water according to the German Federal Ministry of the Environment that classifies chemicals by their hazard level into:

Nwg not dangerous to water
1 low danger to water
2 dangerous to water
3 highly dangerous to water

Related legislation and policies subir


This list of aquatic toxicants was developed using following sources:

ListSourceDate of publication
Water DirectiveWater Frame DirectiveOctober 2005
Water Directive AmendmentDecision No 2455/2001/ECSeptember 2007
Water Directive AmendmentDirective 2008/32/ECJanuary 2009
UBA’s dangerous for water substancesGerman Environmental MinistryOctober 2005

Last updatesubir

July 2012


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