Sci Total Environ 2006 Sep 14;368(2-3):695-712. Epub 2006 Jun 14.
The Soap and Detergent Association, Washington, District of Columbia 20005, USA.
Alkyl sulfates (AS), alkyl ethoxysulfates (AES) and linear alkyl benzene sulfonates (LAS) are all High Production Volume (HPV) and 'down-the-drain' chemicals used globally in detergent and personal care products, resulting in low levels ultimately released to the environment via wastewater effluent. Due to their surfactant properties, they preferentially sorb to sediments. Hence, assessment of their levels and potential perturbations on benthos are of interest. The relative levels of AS/AES decreased with distance from the wastewater treatment plant outfall. However, this was not evident for LAS. Short chained AES and especially AS dominated the homologue distribution for AES. There were no evident patterns in LAS homologue distribution. The overall mean margin of exposure (MoE) for AS/AES and LAS is approximately 40 (range: 3 to 100) suggesting no noteworthy perturbation on biota. The findings in this study are in concordance with previous preliminary hazard screening. Comparative sediment contamination analyses principally based on Chapman and Anderson [Chapman PM, Anderson, J. A decision-making framework for sediment contamination. Integr Environ Assess Mana. 2005; 1: 163-173.] and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency RAPID assessment methods [USEPA. Rapid bioassessment protocols for use in wadeable streams and rivers: Periphyton, benthic, macroinvertebrates, and fish. 1999. Second Edition. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water, Washington, D.C. EPA 841-B-99-002.] did not reveal significant correlations between the surfactant concentrations and ecological status of the sampling locations. Several Lines of Evidence (LoE) of the Weight-of-Evidence (WoE) lead to the conclusion of low aquatic risk associated to the monitored compounds.