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Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines Table of ContentsIntroductionSubstance IdentityUsesSourcesFate, behaviour and partitioning in the environmentAmbient concentrationsMode of actionFreshwater toxicityFederal Water Quality Guideline DerivationConsiderations in Guideline ImplementationReferencesList of AcronymsIntroduction (FEQGs) provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment.
They are based on the toxicological effects or hazards of specific substances or groups of substances and do not take into account analytical capability or socio economic factors. FEQGs serve three functions: first, they can louis vuitton handbags at amazon be an aid to prevent pollution by providing targets for acceptable environmental quality; second, they can assist in evaluating the significance of concentrations of chemical substances currently found in the environment (monitoring of water, sediment, and biological tissue); and third, they can serve as performance measures of the success of risk management activities. The use of FEQGs is voluntary unless prescribed in permits or other regulatory tools. Thus FEQGs, which apply to the ambient environment, are not effluent limits or values but may be used to derive effluent limits. The development of FEQGs is the responsibility of the Federal Minister of Environment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The intent is to develop FEQGs as an adjunct to risk assessment/risk management of priority chemicals identified in the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) or other federal initiatives. This factsheet describes the Federal Water Quality Guidelines (FWQGs) for the protection of aquatic life for alcohol ethoxylates and some related substances (see Figure 1) and is based on information obtained to 2004. No FEQGs have been developed for the soil, sediment or biological tissue compartments at this time. Federal Water Quality Guideline: 70 g/L (for representative alcohol ethoxylate homologue C13.7 EO5) Figure 1. Species sensitivity distribution (SSD) for freshwater toxicity data for the representative alcohol ethoxylate homologue C13.7 EO5 and associated effect levels for freshwater life. Guidelines for individual homologues are given in Table 3 Top of Page Substance IdentityAlcohol ethoxylates (AEs) are part of the alcohol alkoxylates class which also includes alcohol propoxylates and butoxylates. Alcohol ethoxylates are a class of nonionic surfactants that contain a hydrophobic alkyl chain attached via an ether linkage to a hydrophilic ethylene oxide (EO) louis vuitton briefcase ebay uk chain and have the general structure R(OCH2CH2)nOH. The alkyl chain, R, can vary in length and in the degree of linearity, but is typically between 8 and 18 carbons long (for detergent range surfactants). The EO chain can also vary in length from 1 to 40 EO units. An AE with the structure C9 11EO6.5, for example, contains a range of alkyl chain lengths of 9 11 and averages 6.5 EO units per alkyl chain. It should be noted that, although this is the general description of the mixture, other homologues are present. For example, an AE produced from a C12 15 alcohol mixture can yield up to louis vuitton alma serial number 100 different surfactants (Raney 2000). Due to the large number of possible AEs, many different CAS numbers and trade names exist for AEs (Table 1). Because of their ecological and/or human health concerns, many of these substances were identified as priorities for further action under the CMP. The hundreds of different possible AEs each have slightly different chemical and physical properties (Hennes Morgan and De Oude 1994), however, the presence of a strong hydrophilic (ethoxylate chain) and strong hydrophobic (alkyl chain) moiety linked together gives them their characteristic surfactant properties (Swisher 1987). AEs concentrate at surfaces and interfaces in aqueous solutions and create a surface film which reduces the surface tension of water and alters the wetting properties between water and solids (Aveyard 1984; Swisher 1987). The solubility of AEs in water results from the presence of the hydrophilic group (Aveyard 1984). Top of Page UsesAlcohol ethoxylates are currently some of the most commonly manufactured and utilised nonionic surfactants in Canada and world wide (Camford Information Services 1997; Campbell 2002). AEs are predominantly used in consumer and industrial products such as laundry detergents and all purpose cleaners, and are used to a lesser extent by agriculture, cosmetic, textile, paper, and oil sectors (Talmage 1994; Camford Information Services 1997; Madsen et al. 2001). Total production capacity of AEs in Canada in 1996 was estimated at 72 (Camford Information Services 1997). In 2000, a total of 216 of AEs were consumed in Canada and the United States (Modler et al. 2002). Of this total, approximately 41% was used in laundry liquids, 20% in laundry powders, 3% in dishwashing liquids, 9% in other household cleaners, and the remaining 27% was consumed through other uses. In addition, another 411 of AEs were consumed in Canada and the United States in 2000 in the production of alcohol ethoxysulfates, a group of anionic surfactants. In 2002, it is estimated that over 500 of fatty alcohols and fatty alcohol based surfactants were consumed in North America (Modler et al. 2004). Of this, approximately 67% consisted of AEs or sulfated AE. Table 1. Chemicals to which Federal Water Quality Guidelines for alcohol ethoxylates applySourcesAlcohol ethoxylates are synthetic chemicals that do not occur naturally. Since the majority of AEs are used in cleaners and detergents, the largest recipient of chemical inputs is the aquatic environment, primarily through wastewater effluent as a result of consumer disposal practices (Holt et al. 1992). Other potential sources of exposure exist within the industrial sectors where AEs are manufactured or used (industrial cleaners, pulp and paper, chemical manufacture). Natural degradation processes and wastewater treatment techniques remove a large proportion of AE from water, however there is still potential for aquatic exposure. Due to the hydrophobic moiety of AE compounds, once introduced into the aquatic environment they have the potential to adsorb to particulate matter and be deposited to sediments (McAvoy and Kerr 2001). An additional pathway for environmental exposure to AEs is via direct application to soils such as in sewage sludge, and through the use of septic systems which use the soil to treat and disperse wastewater (Nielsen et al. 2002). Top of Page Fate, behaviour and partitioning in the environmentBy far the most significant fate process for AEs is aerobic microbial biodegradation. Due to the down the drain disposal pattern of AEs, a majority of their biodegradation occurs in the sewage system (Nielsen et al. 2002), wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) (McAvoy et al. 1998), septic systems (Matthijs et al. 1995) and to a lesser extent in natural waters (Vashon and Schwab 1982). Multibranched AEs, which make up significantly less of the commercial AE market in Canada (Campbell 2002), are slower to degrade than linear AEs (Birch 1984; Marcomini et al. 2000) but can still be considered readily degradable. Intermediate degradation products of AEs can include free fatty alcohols, polyethylene glycols (PEG), and carboxylic fatty acids. Adsorption of AEs plays a minor role in their aquatic fate, with sorption to humic materials in water, suspended and bed sediments, and sludge in wastewater treatment facilities. AEs are not expected to volatilize to the atmosphere (Kiewiet et al. 1997). AEs are rapidly taken up across the gills in fish (Bishop and Maki 1980; Wakabayashi et al. 1987; Tolls et al. 1994; Newsome et al. 1995) and are rapidly metabolised and eliminated from fish (Bishop and Maki 1980; Wakabayashi et al. 1987; Newsome et al. 1995). Based on the high elimination rates, Tolls et al. (2000) concluded that rapid biotransformation was taking place in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), and that AEs were not stored in the fish. Metabolites formed during biotransformation are of less concern than the parent compound as the short chained metabolites have low lipophilicity and therefore are less toxic (Roberts 1991; Newsome et al. 1995). 2000) and would not meet the criteria for Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations (Government of Canada 2000). However, log octanol/water partitioning coefficients (log Kow) for various AEs have been estimated to range from approximately 3 to 7, suggesting that some AEs may tend to bioaccumulate (Mller et al. 1999b). Top of Page Ambient concentrationsAny AEs detected in the environment are the result of anthropogenic releases. Free fatty alcohols, however, which are found in mixtures of AE homologues, can also occur naturally. Free fatty alcohols are generally analysed with and quantified as AEs, and may therefore result in an over estimation of AE levels. There is currently no information on ambient concentrations of AEs in the Canadian environment. In August 2003, effluents were sampled from eight Canadian municipal WWTP (P Shell 2003; Sherren et al. 2003; Eadsforth et al. 2006). The total AE concentrations for these eight plants ranged from 1.0 to 22.7 g/L, with an average of 6.8 g/L (Sherren et al. 2003). It is notable that the two highest concentrations occurred in effluents from the two plants that did not use activated sludge treatment. Among the eight municipal WWTP, free alcohols accounted for 21 to 62% of the total AE concentration. Although some of this free alcohol likely resulted from the degradation of AEs, some may also have originated from other sources including other alcohol based surfactants such as alkyl sulfates and alcohol ethoxysulfates, other uses of alcohols, and as metabolic by products from microbial degradation of animal and vegetable matter in the municipal WWTP (Scott Belanger, Procter Gamble, pers. comm. 2004, Mudge et al. 2008). Ratios of the molar concentrations of free alcohol to AEs in the effluent were determined for each alkyl chain length. Using these ratios, it is therefore possible to determine caps that is, maximum concentrations of free alcohol in effluents that could have originated from AEs. The alcohol cap is defined as the ratio (for each chain length) between the effluent alcohol that could have been derived from AE and the total ethoxylated alcohols in the effluent (EO > 1). The cap values derived from Stephenson et al. (2004) were 0.58, 0.63, 0.33, 0.25, 0.26 and 0.05 for C12, C13, C14, C15, C16 and C18, respectively. The cap is applied in any calculation only louis vuitton trunks & bags if the effluent measured alcohol concentration exceeds: cap x Sum (EO1 20). When alcohol caps are applied to the monitoring data from the eight Canadian municipal WWTP, the concentrations of total AEs ranged from 0.8 to 11.5 g/L with an average of 4.9 g/L (P 2003). From the study of AE concentrations in Canadian municipal wastewater effluents (P Shell 2003; Sherren et al. 2003), it is also possible to determine the average homologue distribution. Applying an alcohol cap, the average alkyl chain length was 13.68 carbons long, and the average ethoxylate chain consisted of 5.03 ethoxylate units (Scott Belanger, Procter Gamble, pers. comm. 2004). In other words, the average homologue distribution in Canadian municipal wastewater effluents is C13.7EO5. Top of Page Mode of actionAlthough the exact mechanism by which AEs affect aquatic organisms is not fully understood, it is likely that they act through nonspecific narcosis depending on the number of EO units (Roberts 1991; Dorn et al. 1997a; Mller et al. 1999a). Narcosis is a nonspecific, reversible mode of toxic action in which the presence of hydrophobic organic chemicals causes a disruption of cellular activity. Many researchers suspect that surfactants such as AE can disrupt gill membranes in fish, invertebrates and amphibians, and cause the gill epithelial cells to swell and secrete mucous (Moore et al. 1987; Cardellini and Ometto 2001). These cell membrane disruptions can affect diffusion of oxygen across the gills, ultimately resulting in suffocation (Moore et al. 1987; Cardellini and Ometto 2001). In algal cells, surfactants such as AE are thought to denature and bind proteins in the cell wall, thereby altering the permeability of the cell membrane to nutrients and chemicals (Lewis 1990). The susceptibility of algal species can vary depending on the thickness and chemical composition of their cell walls. Algal species with thicker cell walls will be affected less by exposure to surfactants (Nyberg 1988; Lewis 1990). Hydrophobic surfactants will more easily penetrate algal species with high lipid and protein content in their cell walls (Lewis 1990). In some cases, AE toxicity can also result from physical surface active effects. When applied to the surface of water bodies, AE can form a film that alters the water surface tension, thereby affecting surface breathing or water striding invertebrate larvae or adults (Mulla et al. 1983). Top of Page Freshwater toxicityFish and invertebrates are generally more sensitive to AE than plants or algae (Bisop and Perry 1981; Dorn et al. 1997b). The toxicity of individual AE homologues is a function of their chemical structure. The toxicity of AE increases with increasing alkyl chain length (Wong et al. 1997; Dorn et al. 1997a; Lizotte, Jr. et al. 1999; Ghirardini et al. 2001), and with decreasing ethoxylate chain length (Macek and Krzeminski 1975; Maki and Bishop 1979; Yamane et al. 1984; Wong et al. 1997; Raney 2000). In addition, to the length of the alkyl chain, the structure of the chain can also affect its toxicity as linear AEs are more toxic than branched AEs (Dorn et al. 1993; Kaluza and Taeger 1996; Ghirardini et al. 2001). secondary alcohols) (Kurata et al.
1977), the homologue distribution of the ethoxylate chain (Garcia et al. 1996), water hardness (Tovell et al. 1975), and temperature (Lewis and Hamm 1986).
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