ASTM E1242 - 97(2008)

    Standard Practice for Using Octanol-Water Partition Coefficient to Estimate Median Lethal Concentrations for Fish Due to Narcosis

    Active Standard ASTM E1242 | Developed by Subcommittee: E50.47

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.06


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    ASTM E1242

    Significance and Use

    This procedure can be used to limit the need for screening tests prior to performing a test for estimating the LC50 of a non-reactive and non-electrolytic chemical to the fathead minnow. By eliminating the screening test, fewer fish need be tested. The time used for preparing and performing the screening test can also be saved. The value obtained in this procedure can be used as the preliminary estimate of the LC50 in a full-scale test.

    Estimates can be used to set testing priority of groups of non-reactive and non-electrolytic chemicals.

    If the estimated value is more than 0.3 times the experimental value, the mechanism of action is probably narcosis. If less, the effect concentration is considered to reflect a different mechanism of action.

    This practice estimates a maximum LC50, that is, non-reactive and non-electrolytic chemicals are at least as toxic as the practice predicts, but may have a lower LC50 if acting by a more specific mechanism. Data on a chemical indicating a lower toxicity than predicted should be considered suspect or an artifact because of limited solubility of the test material.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers a procedure for estimating the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) 96-h LC50 of nonreactive (that is, covalently bonded without unsaturated residues) and nonelectrolytic (that is, require vigorous reagents to facilitate substitution, addition, replacement reactions and are non-ionic, non-dissociating in aqueous solutions) organic chemicals acting solely by narcosis, also referred to as Meyer-Overton toxicity relationship.

    1.2 This procedure is accurate for organic chemicals that are toxic due to narcosis and are non-reactive and non-electrolytic. Examples of appropriate chemicals are: alcohols, ketones, ethers, simple halogenated aliphatics, aromatics, and aliphatic substituted aromatics. It is not appropriate for chemicals whose structures include a potential toxiphore (that structural component of a chemical molecule that has been identified to show mammalian toxicity, for example CN is known to be reponsible for inactivation of enzymes, NO2 for decoupling of oxidative phosphorylation, both leading to mammalian toxicity). Examples of inappropriate chemicals are: carbamates, organophosphates, phenols, beta-gamma unsaturated alcohols, electrophiles, and quaternary ammonium salts.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E729 Guide for Conducting Acute Toxicity Tests on Test Materials with Fishes, Macroinvertebrates, and Amphibians

    E943 Terminology Relating to Biological Effects and Environmental Fate

    E1023 Guide for Assessing the Hazard of a Material to Aquatic Organisms and Their Uses

    E1147 Test Method for Partition Coefficient (N-Octanol/Water) Estimation by Liquid Chromatography


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.080 (Biology. Botany. Zoology)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 77101501(Risk or hazard assessment)


    DOI: 10.1520/E1242-97R08

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