Antimony :: all ecosystems

Ecosystems: 

Key Concerns:

There is a paucity of data on the effects of antimony on species and their ecosystems.

Emissions of antimony, such as those from smelters, can remain in the atmosphere for more than one month and therefore be transported over long distances (ATSDR 1992; Steinnes 1997). Antimony in soil is likely to be in the form of antimony sulphide, which is slightly soluble, and therefore potentially bioavailable.

Ecosystem specific information

Arable habitats - There is a paucity of data on the effects of antimony on species which are indicative of an arable ecosystem.

The concentration of antimony in vegetable and crop species grown in contaminated soil was not correlated with the concentration of total or mobile antimony in soil (Hammel et al. 2000). Species grown include endive (Cichorium endiva), corn salad (Valerianella locusta), kale (Brassica oleracea), spinach, (Spinacia oleracea), parsley (Petroselinum crispum), carrot (Daucus carota), sugar beet (Beta vulgaris), and maize (Zea mays). Antimony concentrations in plant tissues were similar, despite two fold increases in soil antimony concentrations.

Bogs, wetland and heath -  Peat cores taken from two contrasting sphagnum bogs (ombrotrophic and mineretrophic) both showed the highest concentrations of antimony in the uppermost fraction of the profile. This indicates that the input of antimony to the bogs is dominated by relatively recent aerial deposition (Shotyk 1996).

Coastal and rocky habitats -  96h-EC50 values for chlorophyll inhibition and reduction in cell numbers of the alga Skeletonema costatum exposed to antimony were both >4.2 mg/l (US EPA 1978). 96h-LC50 values for marine invertebrates exposed to antimony were 267 and 534 mg/l for the prawn (Palaemon serratus) and crab (Carcinus maenas), respectively (Amiard 1976). The 96h-LC50for blenny (Blennius pholis) exposed to antimony trichloride was 534 mg/l (Amiard 1976).

Freshwater –  96h-EC50 values for chlorophyll inhibition and reduction in cell numbers of the alga Selenastrum capricornutum exposed to antimony trioxide were 0.61 and 0.63 mg/l, respectively (US EPA 1978). A 48h LC50 for daphnia magna exposed to antimony trichloride was 12.1 mg/l (US EPA 1978). A NOEC for daphnia chronically exposed to antimony was 4.2 mg/l (US EPA 1978).

96h-LC50 values for fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) exposed to antimony potassium tartrate in soft and hard water were 20 and 12 mg/l, respectively (Tarzwell and Henderson 1960).

Grasslands – Increased concentrations of antimony have been reported in grass grown in areas close to major roads (Dietl et al. 1997; Waber et al. 1998). Antimony concentrations in the grass ranged from 0.09 to 0.88 mg/kg dry weight, with corresponding atmospheric deposition rates of 8.4 to 14.8 µg/m2 per day (Dietl et al. 1997).

Woodland and hedgerow -  Increased concentrations of antimony have been reported in grass grown in areas close to major roads (Dietl et al. 1997; Waber et al. 1998). Antimony concentrations in the grass ranged from 0.09 to 0.88 mg/kg dry weight, with corresponding atmospheric deposition rates of 8.4 to 14.8 µg/m2 per day (Dietl et al. 1997).

Environmental limit: 

Critical Load/ Level

No estimate available

References: