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EC number: 235-227-6
CAS number: 12136-45-7
Measured concentrations in ecosystems
Because Potassium oxide does occur in the environment as Potassium and
Oxygen a separate environmental assessment of both the potassium and the
Oxygen ion is needed.
Oxygen is the most abundant chemical element by mass in the Earth's
biosphere, air, sea and land. Oxygen is the third most abundant chemical
element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium.
Potassium is essential constituent and one of the most abundant ions in
all animal species. In adult humans, the total body potassium is approx.
3.5 mol (135 g). 98 % of this is located intracellular (150 mmol/l), the
extracellular potassium concentration is approx. 4 mmol/l.
Potassium has been measured extensively in aquatic ecosystems. For
example, UNEP (1995) reported the concentration for a total number of 75
rivers in North America, South-America, Asia, Africa, Europe and
Oceania. The 10th -percentile, mean and 90th -percentile were 0.8 , 3.2
and 6.0 mg/l, respectively. The potassium concentration of topsoils is
0.2-3.3% (Chemical Economics Handbook, 1999), and that of seawater is
380 mg/l (Tait, 1980).
Levels of concern for water quality from anthropogenic exposure,
predominantly fertilizers, are never reached (12 mg/l WHO guideline for
drinking water), except downstream from potash mines (Weser: 42.0 mg/l;
Elbe: 26.1 mg/l). Acidity/alkalinity is measured as pH which is a key
parameter in water quality. pH is closely linked to biological
productivity in aquatic systems. With dissolved organic acids from soil
leaching (Amazonia), a pH of less than 4.0 has been measured. In waters
with a high chlorophyll content, the bicarbonate assimilation can result
in pH values exceeding quiet commonly 8.5, and even 9.0 at midday (Loire)
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