3 years ago

Environmental fate of amine oxide: Using measured and predicted values to determine aquatic exposure

Environmental fate of amine oxide: Using measured and predicted values to determine aquatic exposure
Amine oxide (AO) surfactants are used widely in North American household detergents resulting in >44,000mtons disposed down the drain annually. Due to AOs substantial down the drain disposal volume, wide dispersive use, and high aquatic toxicity, there is a need to evaluate ecological exposure and corresponding risk. This study refined the current knowledge regarding the fate of AO disposed down the drain through laboratory simulation studies to evaluate biodegradation in the sewer and during activated sludge wastewater treatment. A monitoring program which measured effluent AO concentrations for the dominant carbon chain lengths, C12 and C14, at 44 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) across the continental US was also conducted. The study results were then used as input into probabilistic exposure models to predict US receiving stream concentrations. In three separate OECD 314A Sewer Water Die-Away studies AO was rapidly biodegraded with >76% mineralized by study completion and the geometric mean of the primary biodegradation rates being 0.184h 1. Two OECD 303A Activated Sludge WWTP Simulation studies showed rapid and complete biodegradation of AO with ≤0.09% of parent AO remaining in the effluent, ≤0.03% of parent AO sorbed to sludge solids, and >97% complete mineralization of AO. Monitoring at US WWPTs confirmed low levels of AO in effluents with mean C12 and C14AO concentrations of 52.8 and 20.1ng/L respectively. Based on the monitoring data, the 90th percentile concentrations of C12 and C14AO for 7Q10 low flow stream conditions were >2 orders of magnitude lower than the predicted no effect concentrations indicating negligible aquatic risk from AO in US receiving streams. This study verifies that AO is safe for the aquatic environment even at the currently high usage volumes due to rapid biodegradation during transit through the sewer and wastewater treatment.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0048969717330218

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