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New hazard: Detergents and surfactants to poison water, to ruin climate?

Мар 14, 2010 | 10:03

Detergents to poison water, to ruin climate?
This material is related to the publication: www.springerlink.com/content/7166067538534421/
[Ostroumov S.А., Widdows J. Inhibition of mussel suspension feeding by surfactants of three classes // Hydrobiologia. 2006. Vol. 556, No. 1. P. 381 – 386. — DOI 10.1007/s10750-005-1200-7]
Until now, the list of the most dangerous environmental pollutants did not include the large group of chemicals which are called surfactants. Those chemicals produce foams. They are the key components of detergents, shampoos, foams for bath, and many other commercial products. They are also used in case of oil spills. Traditionally they are considered as symbol of hygiene, of cleanness and purity, of washing and removal of dirt, which means they always have a positive connotation. However, our multi-year research showed that the story has two aspects. In addition to doing good things, the surfactants can do bad things too. It deals with environmental effects. We have studied representatives of all three main classes of synthetic surfactants. Those classes are: anionic, cationic, non-ionic surfactants. The chemicals that we have tested were: (i) tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide, a representative of a class of cationic surfactants; (ii) sodium dodecyl sulphate, a representative of anionic alkyl sulfates, which belong to anionic surfactants; and (iii) Triton X-100, a representative of non-ionic hydroxyethylated alkyl phenols, which belong to non-ionic surfactants. The condensed abbreviations that were used to make the loing words short were:
SDS — sodium dodecyl sulphate;
TDTMA — tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide
We have studied effects of all three chemicals — SDS, TDTMA, and Triton X-100 — on one of the most common and mass ocean creatures — marine bivalve molluscs, namely, marine mussels  (Latin name of the genus is Mytilus). Inhibitory effects of all three surfactants on the filtration rates (clearance rates) by marine mussels were described and studied. All three surfactants inhibited the clearance rates. The significance of the results for the ecology of marine ecosystems is really dramatic, and has at least two important aspects.
First, marine mussels are favorite species that is cultivated in aquaculture (mariculture).
Second, the filtration of water by bivalve molluscs is a key component of ecosystem services in making water clear and pure.  A decrease in water filtration may lead to further decrease in water quality. Moreover, it may lead to a decrease in another useful ecosystem service as a sink and regulator of CO2 in atmosphere. As we know, CO2 is a greenhouse gas and a key factor among other factors that regulate temperature on the Earth's surface.
These straightforward and therefore convincing considerations increase our concern about the environment pollution with detergents. More facts about environmental effects of surfactants and detergents were presented in the book 'Biological Effects of Surfactants' (CRC Press. Taylor & Francis; ISBN 0-8493-2526-9. ISBN 13: 9780849325267; Electronic book text:  ISBN: 6610517002;  ISBN 13: 9786610517008). I really welcome your comments and opinions.
--KEY WORDS: water quality, water pollution, stability, sustainability, resources, environmental safety, marine ecosystems, aquaculture, mariculture, water self-purification, xenobiotics, pollutants, tensides, detergents, surfactants, man-made impact, anthropogenic effects, ecological hazards, bioassays, biotest, filtration rate, marine mussels, bivalves, shellfish, anionic, cationic and non-ionic surfactants, tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide, sodium dodecyl sulphate, anionic alkyl sulfates; Triton X-100, non-ionic hydroxyethylated alkyl phenols, inhibition, sublethal concentrations, clearance rates, filter-feeders, suspension feeders, ecosystem’s services, SDS, TDTMA, TX100, Mytilus edulis, M. galloprovincialis; качествоводы, самоочищениеводы, биота, водныеэкосистемы, ремедиация, поллютанты, загрязнение, гидробионты, фильтрацияводы, двустворчатыемоллюски, фильтраторы, поверхностно-активныевещества(ПАВ), экологическаяремедиация, морские, ресурсы, экологическаябезопасность, мидии, катионные, анионные, неионогенныеПАВ, алкилсульфаты, оксиэтилированныеалкилфенолы, сублетальные, ингибирование, биотестирование, детергенты, аквакультура, марикультура, антропогенныевоздействия, сервисныефункцииэкосистем, экологическаяопасностьхимическогозагрязнения.

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