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Environmental fate & pathways

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Diethyl sulphate rapidly hydrolyses in water at the pH of biodegradation screening tests to form ethanol and sulphuric acid. The hydrolysis half-life is approximately 1.7 hours. Therefore, diethyl sulphate cannot be tested over a 28-day period and, indeed, will not survive the 10-day window. Degradation of the test substance will be uniquely abiotic, i.e., hydrolysis (see 5.1.2)

Ethanol, however, is readily biodegradable (Price, 1974; CERI, 2004; Birch, 1991) and sulphuric acid is inorganic. Therefore, the biodegradation of diethyl sulfate is that of ethanol.

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