A Review of the Environmental Degradation, Ecotoxicity, and Bioaccumulation Potential of the Low Molecular Weight Polyether Polyol Substances
“Polyalkylene glycol” is the name given to a broad class of synthetic organic chemicals which are produced by polymerization of one or more alkylene oxide (epoxide) monomers, such as ethylene oxide (EO) and propylene oxide (PO), with various initiator substances which possess amine or alcohol groups. A generalization of this polymerization reaction is illustrated in Fig. 1.
KeywordsAdsorption Aquatic toxicity Basic non-polar narcosis Basic polar narcosis Bioaccumulation Biodegradation Environmental behavior Environmental distribution Environmental modeling Environmental risk assessment Glycols Mode of action Persistency Photodegradation Physical properties Polyether polyol Polyetherol Polyetherol amine Polyethylene glycol Polypropylene glycol Polyurethane
Diethylene glycol; 2,2′-oxy-diethanol
Ethylene oxide; oxirane
Mono-propylene glycol; propane-1,2-diol
2,2′,2″-Nitrilotriethanol; triethanol amine
Methyl-phenylene-2,3-diamine and methyl-phenylene-3,4-diamine, mixture of isomers
Predicted environmental concentration
Predicted no-effect concentration
Propylene oxide; methyloxirane
Sorbitol; glucitol; 1,2,3,4,5,6-hexahydroxy-cyclohexane
The authors are grateful to Monika Leutbecher of Covestro Deutschland AG, Gitta Egbers of BASF Polyurethanes GmbH and Joerg Palmersheim, European Isocyanate and Polyols Producer Association (ISOPA) for their contributions to the discussion, and to Yunzhou Chai for performing the OASIS metabolism predictions. The authors gratefully acknowledge the many significant contributions of Dr. Urs Friederich (formerly Dow Europe GmbH) to the early development and drafting of this review. The authors are grateful to ISOPA for financial support. Views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of ISOPA.
Conflict of Interest
T. Schupp worked for BASF, a Polyether-polyol producer, until 2012.
B.T.A. Bossuyt is working for Huntsman, a Polyether-polyol producer.
R.J. West and S.M. Shen are working for Dow Chemical Company, a Polyether-polyol producer.
T. Austin and C.V. Eadsforth are working for Shell Chemical Company, a Polyether-polyol producer.
This work was sponsored by ISOPA, the European Isocyanate, and Polyol Producer Association. The authors declare that all data of the PEPOs available to them are evaluated and presented in good faith. The views presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily coincide with the views of ISOPA.
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