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Acetylsalicylic acid


Persistence. Acetylsalicylic acid is degraded in the environment.
Bioaccumulation. Acetylsalicylic acid has low potential for bioaccumulation.
Toxicity. Acetylsalicylic acid has moderate chronic toxicity.
Risk. The use of acetylsalicylic acid (sales data Sweden 2018) has been considered to result in low environmental risk.


This summary information comes from Fass (Bayer).

Detailed information

Comment on Fass environmental information

Acetylsalicylic acid has different classifications on fass.se. According to Lif (the trade association for the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Sweden) the various pharmaceutical companies compile environmental information for their active substances based on internal studies and published data. Based on data, which may thus differ between different pharmaceutical companies, the companies assess the environmental risk with guidance from “Environmental classification of pharmaceuticals at www.fass.se – Guidance for pharmaceutical companies 2012”. The Swedish Environmental Institute (IVL) reviews the assessment but does not have the task of coordinating/harmonizing environmental information from different pharmaceutical companies for the same active substance.

Fass environmental information for Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) from Bayer (downloaded 2021-06-24)


Persistence according to OECD 301F: "The substance was introduced into the test system at a concentration of 200 mg/L as theoretical oxygen demand (ThOD) and was found to be degraded to 69.6% after 10 and 83.3 % after 28 days. Hence, acetylsalicylic acid can be regarded as readily biodegradable."

Bioaccumulation: "The log Kow/20 °C was - 0.32, - 1.62, and - 1.61 at pH 5, 7 and 9, respectively."

Chronic toxicity: There is NOEC for 3 trophic levels, lowest NOEC for fish 283 microg/L.


PEC/PNEC is based on sales data in Sweden in year 2018. PEC/PNEC = 0,7 which gives the risk low.

Fass environmental information for Trombyl (acetylsalicylic acid) from Pfizer (downloaded 2021-06-24)


Persistence: It cannot be excluded that acetylsalicylic acid is persistent, due to the lack of data.

Bioaccumulation: It cannot be excluded that acetylsalicylic acid bioaccumulates, due to the lack of data.

Toxicity: It cannot be excluded that acetylsalicylic acid is toxic, due to the lack of data.


Risk: Risk of environmental impact cannot be excluded, due to the lack of environmental toxicity data.

Report Pharmaceutial residues in the Stockholm aquatic environment

Acetylsalicylic acid and penicillins were eliminated despite their very high consumption and discharge to sewage because they break down very quickly, both in the treatment of wastewater and in natural waters.

Author: Health and Medical Care Administration, Region Stockholm