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Environmental fate & pathways

Biodegradation in soil

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Description of key information

Degradation in soil is rapid due to the occurrence of high concentrations of catalytic material.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

The following text was copied from the EU Risk Assessment Report (2003), pp. 34/35: "In soil H2O2 is normally a short-lived substance. Rapid degradation will occur due to high concentration of catalytic material like transition metals, enzymes, easily oxidised/reduced organic substances and living microbes (Spain et al. 1989). Hydrogen peroxide is used as a source of oxygen (for aerobic microbes) in polluted groundwater sites (enhanced bioremediation). Therefore specific information on degradability in soil is available. The problem in these applications where hydrogen peroxide is introduced directly into the ground is linked to a too rapid degradation. Observed half-lives of H2O2 in soil vary from 15 hours (soil without microbiological activity and few minerals) to several minutes (soils with 108-109 cells/g total solids, and in the presence of iron and manganese (Aggarwal et al. 1991, ECETOC 1993, Hinchee and Downey 1988, Pardieck et al. 1992). In the assessment it is estimated that the degradation half-life in soil is 12 hours." Though shorter half-lives are expected for the majority of soils, the half-life of 12 hours for degradation of hydrogen peroxide in soil will be considered as a reasonable worst case in the present assessment.