Quantitative weight-of-evidence analysis of the persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, and potential for long-range transport of the cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes

J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2016;19(8):345-379. doi: 10.1080/10937404.2016.1200505. Epub 2016 Sep 22.


Cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes (cVMSs) are highly volatile and have an unusual combination of physicochemical properties, which are unlike those of halocarbon-based chemicals used to establish criteria for identification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that undergo long-range transport (LRT). A transparent quantitative weight of evidence (QWoE) evaluation was conducted to characterize their properties. Measurements of concentrations of cVMSs in the environment are challenging, but currently, concentrations measured in robust studies are all less than thresholds of toxicity. The cVMSs are moderately persistent in air with half-lives ≤11 d (greater than the criterion of 2 d) but these compounds partition into the atmosphere, the final sink. The cVMSs are rapidly degraded in dry soils, partition from wet soils into the atmosphere, and are not classifiable as persistent in soils. Persistence in water and sediment is variable, but the greatest concentrations in the environment are observed in sediments. Based upon the measurements that have been made in the environment, cVMSs should not be classified as persistent. Studies in food webs support a conclusion that the cVMSs do not biomagnify, a conclusion that is consistent with results of toxicokinetic studies. Concentrations in air in remote locations are small and deposition has not been detected. Taken together, evidence indicates that traditional measures of persistence and biomagnification used for legacy POP are not suitable for cVMS. Refined approaches used here suggest that cVMSs are not classifiable as persistent, bioaccumulative, or toxic. Further, these chemicals do not undergo LRT in the sense of legacy POPs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Food Chain*
  • Humans
  • Plants
  • Siloxanes / analysis*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Siloxanes