The concentration profiles of the potential endocrine disrupting nonionic alkylphenol ethoxylate (APEO) surfactants in Israel's rivers, groundwaters and coastal water of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, were found to be within the range of 12.5-74.6, trace - 20.2 and 4.2-25.0 mg/L respectively. Determination of the APEO's homologic distribution revealed “skewing” towards the more toxic shorter-chain ethoxylates. Egg production of zebrafish, Danio rerio, exposed to these actually found the environmental concentrations range of the APEOs decreased, after 20 days, to 89.6 ± 2.1, 84.7 ± 3.9 and 76.9 ± 2.2% of the baseline levels, compared with control, in concentrations of 10, 25 and 75 μg/L respectively. These results suggest that, (a) there is a potential health problem, particularly in countries in which the “hard”/environmentally persistent APEOs are still in use; and (b) the related health-risk is seasonally-dependent, particularly in semi-arid regions where the fluctuations in the water quantities in surface- and groundwater are substantial.

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