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behaviour of las


Water column

The most comprehensive risk assessment of LAS in marine waters was recently done by Ali Temara et al. This study concluded that the environmental risk of LAS in the North Sea and North Sea estuaries was low, on the basis of predicted and measured exposure of estuarine and marine organisms (0.9-9 ppb LAS) in comparison to probabilistic PNEC (30 ppb). Considering the risk characterization of LAS in the seawater column, the biodegradation of LAS in seawater (L√≥pez Amoro et al, 2000) and the reported stimulated effect of LAS on growth of marine bacteria (Prior and Riehman, 2001), it appears that the environmental risk of LAS is negligible.


In contrast to the toxicity data of LAS in sea water column, less information is available on the effects of LAS towards marine sediments. For this reason ERASM (Environmental Risk Assessment Management) is developing a research program to refine the fate and effects assessment in marine sediments not only for LAS but also for other surfactants.

Key references

Temara, A., Carr, G., Webb, S., Versteeg, D. and Feijtel, T. 2001. Marine risk assessment: linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS) in the North Sea. Marine Poll. Bulletin. 42:635-642

Leon, V.M., Gonzalez-Mazo, E., Pajares, J.M.F., and Gomez-Parra, A. 2001.
Vertical distribution profiles of linear alkylbenzene sulphonates and their long-chain intermediate degradation products in coastal marine sediments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20:2171-2178

Prior & Riehman, 2001."Effects of tributyltin, linear alkylbencene sulphonate and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) on nucleoid-containing bacteria, Enviromental Toxicology and Chemistry" 17, 1473-1480

Lopez Amoro R, Comas J, Garcia M.T, Vives-Rego J, 2000. Flow cytometric analysis of a marine LAS degrading consortia. Microbios 101, 23-36