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Ethylene
Last updated: 30/06/2022
(Also known as: ethylene gas; olefiant gas; ethene)

Data alerts

The following alerts are based on the data in the tables below. An absence of an alert does not imply the substance has no implications for human health, biodiversity or the environment but just that we do not have the data to form a judgement.

Environmental fate Ecotoxicity Human health
 
Ecotoxicity
Moderate alert:
Fish acute ecotoxicity: Moderate; Daphnia acute ecotoxicity: Moderate; Earthworms acute ecotoxicity: Moderate
Human health
Moderate alert:
Possible Carcinogen
Warning:
Significant data are missing
GENERAL INFORMATION
Description
A gaseous post-harvest plant growth regulator used to promote fruit ripening and potatoes sprouting
Example pests controlled
-
Example applications
-
Efficacy & activity
-
Appearance and life cycle
-
Availability status
Current
Introduction & key dates
-
Taxonomic classification
-
UK regulatory status
UK COPR regulatory status
Approved
Date COPR inclusion expires
31/08/2024
UK LERAP status
None
EC Regulation 1107/2009 (repealing 91/414)
EC Regulation 1107/2009 status
Approved
Dossier rapporteur/co-rapporteur
Netherlands/UK
Date EC 1107/2009 inclusion expires
31/08/2023
EU Candidate for substitution (CfS)
No
Listed in EU database
Yes
Approved for use (✓) under EC 1107/2009 in the following EU Member States
ATAustria
BEBelgium
BGBulgaria
CYCyprus
CZCzech Republic
DEGermany
DKDenmark
EEEstonia
ELGreece
       
ESSpain
FIFinland
FRFrance
HRCroatia
HUHungary
IEIreland
ITItaly
LTLithuania
LULuxembourg
     
LVLatvia
MTMalta
NLNetherlands
PLPoland
PTPortugal
RORomania
SESweden
SISlovenia
SKSlovakia
   
Additional information
Known to be used in the following countries
-
Chemical structure
Isomerism
-
Chemical formula
C₂H₄
Canonical SMILES
C=C
Isomeric SMILES
No data
International Chemical Identifier key (InChIKey)
VGGSQFUCUMXWEO-UHFFFAOYSA-N
International Chemical Identifier (InChI)
InChI=1S/C2H4/c1-2/h1-2H2
2D structure diagram/image available?
Yes
Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre diagrams
Common Name Relationship Link
ethylene -
General status
Biopesticide type
Plant growth regulator
Substance groups
Fumigant PGR
Minimum active substance purity
99%
Known relevant impurities
EU dossier - none declared
Substance origin
Natural
Mode of action
A 'ripening hormone' that plays a regulatory role in many processes of plant growth, development and eventually death.
Substance source
Ethylene is ubiquitous is the environment being released by both natural (e.g. vegetation, micro-organisms) and man-made sources (e.g. fuel combustion).
Substance production
Manufactered for commercial use
Uses
Crop protection; yield enhancement
Target pests
None - PGR
Target host
Fruit, potatoes
Farming system suitability
-
CAS RN
74-85-1
EC number
200-815-3
CIPAC number
839
US EPA chemical code
041901
PubChem CID
-
Molecular mass
28.05
PIN (Preferred Identification Name)
-
IUPAC name
Ethylene
CAS name
Ethylene
Other status information
-
Relevant Environmental Water Quality Standards
-
Herbicide Resistance Classification (HRAC)
Not applicable
Herbicide Resistance Classification (WSSA)
Not applicable
Insecticide Resistance Classification (IRAC)
Not applicable
Fungicide Resistance Classification (FRAC)
Not applicable
Examples of recorded resistance
-
Physical state
Colourless gas
Formulations
Property
Product
Manufacturer
Example products
Ethylene gas Nova chemicals
Formulation and application details
Usually supplied as a compressed gas or as a gas generator that works via catalytic action on ethanol
ENVIRONMENTAL FATE
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Solubility - In water at 20 °C (mg l⁻¹)
131
A4 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
4 = Verified data
at 25 °C
Moderate
Solubility - In organic solvents at 20 °C (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Melting point (°C)
-169
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
Boiling point (°C)
104
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
Degradation point (°C)
- - -
Flashpoint (°C)
-136
E3 E = Manufacturers safety data sheets
3 = Unverified data of known source
-
Octanol-water partition coefficient at pH 7, 20 °C
P
1.35 X 1001 Calculated -
Log P
1.13
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Low
Fat solubility of residues
Solubility
- - -
Data type
- - -
Density (g ml⁻¹)
0.975
E3 E = Manufacturers safety data sheets
3 = Unverified data of known source
-
Dissociation constant pKa) at 25 °C
- - -
-
Vapour pressure at 20 °C (mPa)
6.95 X 1008
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Highly volatile
Henry's law constant at 25 °C (Pa m³ mol⁻¹)
23102
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Volatile
Maximum UV-vis absorption L mol⁻¹ cm⁻¹
Max @ 162nm
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
Surface tension (mN m⁻¹)
- - -
Degradation
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
General biodegradability
-
Soil degradation (days) (aerobic)
DT₅₀ (typical)
- - -
DT₅₀ (lab at 20 °C)
- - -
DT₅₀ (field)
- - -
DT₉₀ (lab at 20 °C)
- - -
DT₉₀ (field)
- - -
DT₅₀ modelling endpoint
- - -
Note
-
Dissipation rate RL₅₀ on plant matrix
Value
- - -
Note
-
Dissipation rate RL₅₀ on and in plant matrix
Value
- - -
Note
-
Aqueous photolysis DT₅₀ (days) at pH 7
Value
- - -
Note
-
Aqueous hydrolysis DT₅₀ (days) at 20 °C and pH 7
Value
- - -
Note
-
Water-sediment DT₅₀ (days)
- - -
Water phase only DT₅₀ (days)
- - -
Soil adsorption and mobility
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Linear
Kd
- - -
Koc
-
Notes and range
-
Freundlich
Kf
- - -
Kfoc
-
1/n
-
Notes and range
-
pH sensitivity
-
ECOTOXICOLOGY
Terrestrial ecotoxicology
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Mammals - Acute oral LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Mammals - Short term dietary NOEL
(mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
(ppm diet)
- -
Mammals - Chronic 21d NOAEL (mg kg⁻¹ bw d⁻¹)
- - -
Birds - Acute LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Birds - Short term dietary (LC₅₀/LD₅₀)
- - -
Birds - Chronic 21d NOEL (mg kg⁻¹ bw d⁻¹)
- - -
Earthworms - Acute 14 day LC₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
60.0
E3 E = Manufacturers safety data sheets
3 = Unverified data of known source
Eisenia foetida
Moderate
Earthworms - Chronic NOEC, reproduction (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Soil micro-organisms
- - -
Collembola
Acute LC₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Chronic NOEC (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Non-target plants
- - -
- - -
Honeybees (Apis spp.)
Contact acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Oral acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Unknown mode acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Chronic
- - -
Bumblebees (Bombus spp.)
Contact acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
-
Oral acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
-
Mason bees (Osmia spp.)
Contact acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Oral acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg bee⁻¹)
- - -
Other pollinators (1)
Acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg insect⁻¹)
- - -
Mode of exposure
-
Other pollinators (2)
Acute LD₅₀ (worst case from 24, 48 and 72 hour values - μg insect⁻¹)
- - -
Mode of exposure
-
Beneficial insects (Ladybirds)
- - -
Beneficial insects (Lacewings)
- - -
Beneficial insects (Parasitic wasps)
- - -
Beneficial insects (Predatory mites)
- - -
Beneficial insects (Ground beetles)
- - -
Aquatic ecotoxicology
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Fish - Acute 96 hour LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
85
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Lepomis macrochirus
Moderate
Fish - Chronic 21 day NOEC (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Aquatic invertebrates - Acute 48 hour EC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
53
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Daphnia magna
Moderate
Aquatic invertebrates - Chronic 21 day NOEC (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Aquatic crustaceans - Acute 96 hour LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Sediment dwelling organisms - Acute 96 hour LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Sediment dwelling organisms - Chronic 28 day NOEC, static, water (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Sediment dwelling organisms - Chronic 28 day NOEC, sediment (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Aquatic plants - Acute 7 day EC₅₀, biomass (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Algae - Acute 72 hour EC₅₀, growth (mg l⁻¹)
40
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Selenastrum capricornutum
Low
Algae - Chronic 96 hour NOEC, growth (mg l⁻¹)
- - -
Mesocosm study data
NOEAEC mg l⁻¹
- - -
NOEAEC mg l⁻¹
- - -
HUMAN HEALTH AND PROTECTION
General
Property
Value
Source; quality score; and other information
Interpretation
Threshold of Toxicological Concern (Cramer Class)
Low (class I) - -
Mammals - Acute oral LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹)
- - -
Mammals - Dermal LD₅₀ (mg kg⁻¹ body weight)
- - -
Mammals - Inhalation LC₅₀ (mg l⁻¹)
> 12.52
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
Rat 5 hr
-
Other Mammal toxicity endpoints
- - -
ADI - Acceptable Daily Intake (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
None allocated
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
ARfD - Acute Reference Dose (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
None allocated
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
AAOEL - Acute Acceptable Operator Exposure Level (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
- - -
AOEL - Acceptable Operator Exposure Level - Systemic (mg kg⁻¹ bw day⁻¹)
None allocated
A5 A = EU regulatory and evaluation data as published by EC, EFSA (RAR, DAR & Conclusion dossiers), EMA (e.g. EU Annex III PIC DGD) (EU - Pesticides database; EFSA Scientific Publications )
5 = Verified data used for regulatory purposes
-
Dermal penetration studies (%)
- - -
Dangerous Substances Directive 76/464
- - -
Exposure Routes
Public
-
Occupational
-
Mammalian dose elimination route and rate
- - -
Health issues
Specific human health issues
Carcinogen
Genotoxic
Endocrine disruptor
?Possibly, status not identified
A0 A = Chromosome aberration (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
B0 B = DNA damage/repair (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
C0 C = Gene mutation (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
D0 D = Genome mutation (EFSA database)
0 = No data
;
E0 E = Unspecified genotoxicity type (miscellaneous data source)
0 = No data
No data found
Reproduction / development effects Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor Neurotoxicant
No data found No data found No data found
Respiratory tract irritant Skin irritant Skin sensitiser
No data found
XNo, known not to cause a problem
XNo, known not to cause a problem
Eye irritant Phototoxicant  
XNo, known not to cause a problem
XNo, known not to cause a problem
 
General human health issues
Possible liver toxicant
Handling issues
Property
Value and interpretation
General
Extremely flammable
Explosive limits in air 2.7-36% @ 25 DegC
Not oxidising
IMDG Transport Code 2.1
CLP classification 2013
Health: H336
Handling: H220
WHO Classification
NL (Not listed)
UN Number
1962
Waste disposal & packaging
-
TRANSLATIONS
Language
Name
English
ethylene
French
-
German
Athylen
Danish
-
Italian
-
Spanish
-
Greek
-
Polish
-
Swedish
-
Hungarian
-
Dutch
-

Record last updated: 30/06/2022
Contact: aeru@herts.ac.uk
Please cite as: Lewis, K.A., Tzilivakis, J., Warner, D. and Green, A. (2016) An international database for pesticide risk assessments and management. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 22(4), 1050-1064. DOI: 10.1080/10807039.2015.1133242