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Methacrylate Ecotoxicity

The ecotoxicity of the basic methacrylates has been reviewed extensively under EU and OECD Existing Chemicals Risk Assessment programs (OECD 2001 and 2009). Based on the data the review concluded that the esters are of low to high toxicity to aquatic organisms. The toxicity increases with increasing lipophilicity and molecular size across the category with MAA, MMA and EMA being the least toxic and 2-EHMA the most toxic. This trend was consistent between all three trophic levels studied (algae, daphnia and fish) as was the general level of toxicity.

In summary, the OECD assessment concludes that “the category members possess properties indicating a hazard for the environment (acute toxicity between 1 and 100 mg/L). However, the chemicals in this category are of low priority for further work because of their rapid biodegradation and their limited potential for bioaccumulation.”

A comparison of the ecotoxicity data of the methacrylates and emission data indicate that under operating parameters of the methacrylate industry they do not pose a risk to the environment.


OECD, 2001, OECD SIDS/SIAP/SIAR Methacrylic acid, CAS no. 79-41-4

OECD, 2001, OECD SIDS/SIAP/SIAR Methyl Methacrylate, CAS no. 80-62-6

OECD, 2009, SIDS/SIAP/SIAR Category Short-chain Alkyl Methacrylates (Rem.: assessment referring to ethyl methacrylate, n- and iso-butyl methacrylate and 2-ethylhexyl methacrylate)

Staples CA, Farr C, Hunt EK, McLaughlin JE, Müllerschön H, Pemberton MA, 2009. Using Quantitative Structure–Activity Relationships to Support the Assessment of the Environmental Fate and Aquatic Toxicity of a Series of Methacrylic Acid Esters, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 15: 503–525