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las in the environment

Surfactants form part of a group of chemicals with a high overall environmental relevance, because of their inherent properties combined with their large production volume. LAS like any other detergent ingredient can be found in the environment due to its wide spread use in consumer products. Surfactants consumed today in European detergents and cleaning products must comply with strict legal obligations, including biodegradability. LAS fulfils this requirement and many technical publications are available on this matter. Nevertheless, surfactants can be found in low concentrations in the various environmental compartments, even after waste water treatment, due mainly to their inherent physical chemical properties.

In order to assess the environmental impact of surfactants, it is necessary to know both their fate as well as their effects on organisms representative of the various environmental compartments. Several key characteristics are taken into account for these studies; i.e. Biodegradation, Aquatic toxicity, Adsorption behaviour, Bioaccumulation, and others. The effects are usually studied on organisms representative of the different trophic levels; microorganisms, microalgae, invertebrates and vertebrates using official guidelines and internationally recognised testing protocols.