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Environmental fate & pathways

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Measurements of ambient ethanol and methanol concentrations in the atmosphere at a remote location in Alaska in the late 1960's found average levels of around 1.0ug/m3. This value is remarkably consistent with the predictions from fugacity modelling of potential atmospheric levels of ethanol at the regional level (see chapter 5.4). However, since the authors of the study felt that the source of the methanol/ethanol was more likely to be of biological origin rather than man-made and the age of the study, this may be simply a co-incidence rather than a mutually supportive finding.

Samples of water from a highly polluted river in Japan taken around 1980 were found to contain between 2 and 4ppm of ethanol. Because this data is quite old, it is unclear if it has any relevance to current levels of ethanol in the aquatic environment.

In a study to analyse the volatile compounds emitted from a Landfill site in China (Beijing), ethanol was found to be present in all samples collected (n=43.) The geometric mean of the measurements was 0.68mg/m3.