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The alkyl ether sulfates grouped within the AES category show similar structural, physico-chemical, environmental and toxicological properties. The approach of grouping different AES for the evaluation of their effects on human health and the environment was also made by the Danish EPA [1] and HERA [2], supporting the read across approach between structurally related AES.

The aquatic toxicity of the alkyl ether sulfates has been evaluated in studies on fish, invertebrates and algae as well as microorganisms. In most of the given studies AES were tested as sodium salts. As the kation counterpart of the AES anions is not expected to influence the ecotoxicological profile of the substance, read-across is possible between all comparable mixtures independent from the kation (e.g. sodium, magnesium, ammonium, MIPA; for details see category justification).

Concerning the AES (C12-14, 1-2.5EO), short-term studies on freshwater species of three trophic levels (fish, invertebrates and algae) are available for the sodium salt (CAS 68891 -38 -3) and the MIPA salt (CAS 1187742 -72 -8). These data were used for the assessment of the AES (C12 -14, 1-2.5EO) NH4. Chronic endpoints were covered with studies conducted with mixtures comparable to the AES (C12-14, 1-2.5EO) as well as data available for the pure homologues.  

The acute and chronic toxicity data of alkyl ether sulfates indicate that fish and invertebrates are more sensitive to AES than algae. However, there is no significant difference in the sensitivity of both organism groups. The LC/EC50 values range between 7.1 mg a.i./L (nominal) and 7.7 mg/L (nominal) for fish and daphnia, respectively. For the less sensitive algae the EC50 values based on growth rate were 14 mg a.i./L (nominal) for the MIPA salt and 27.7 mg a.i./L (measured) for the sodium salt. For fish one long-term study is available for the AES (C12-14, 2EO) Na mixture (CAS 68891-38-3) resulting in a NOEC of 0.14 mg/L (measured). For a chronic fish test using the pure AES homologue (C14, 2EO) a NOEC of 0.18 mg i.a./L (measured) was determined.

For daphnids (Daphnia magna) one chronic study is available for the AES (C12-14, 2EO) Na mixture (CAS 68891-38-3) resulting in a NOEC-value of 0.27 mg a.i./L (measured). Chronic tests conducted with Ceriodaphnia dubia using the pure AES homologues (C12, 1EO; C14, 2EO) and (C12, 2EO; C14, 2EO) resulted in NOEC (reproduction)-values ranging from 0.31 mg a.i./L to 6.25 mg a.i./L (measured).

The available algae NOECs for the AES (C12-14, 1-2.5EO) Na and MIPA mixture were 0.95 mg a.i./L (measured) and 2 mg a.i./L (nominal), respectively.

From the results of the tests listed above, a chronic risk of AES (C12 -14, 1 -2.5EO) NH4 on aquatic organisms cannot be excluded.

 

[1] Danish EPA - Environmental and Health Assessment of Substances in Household Detergents and Cosmetic Detergent Products (2001). Environmental Project No. 615, pp. 24-28

[2] HERA - Human & Environmental Risk Assessment on ingredients of European household cleaning products (2004).Alcohol Ethoxysulphates (AES).