Registration Dossier

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Please be aware that this old REACH registration data factsheet is no longer maintained; it remains frozen as of 19th May 2023.

The new ECHA CHEM database has been released by ECHA, and it now contains all REACH registration data. There are more details on the transition of ECHA's published data to ECHA CHEM here.

Diss Factsheets

Environmental fate & pathways

Endpoint summary

Administrative data

Description of key information

Additional information

The substances of the Alcohol ethoxylate (AE) category are readily biodegradable under aerobic conditions, as confirmed by the available experimental data. The main mechanism of primary biodegradation for the linear and essentially linear AE is the central cleavage of the molecule, leading to the formation of long chain alcohol and polyethylene glycol (HERA, 2009; Marcomini et al., 2000a; Marcomini et al., 2000b). Alcohol ethoxylates will be rapidly mineralised in the environment and thus abiotic degradation by hydrolysis is not a relevant degradation pathway for AE substances. Abiotic degradation in water, soil, sediment and air is generally not expected because of the chemical structures of the alcohol ethoxylates. The adsorption potential of alcohol ethoxylates depends on the properties of the AE substance. Properties like chain length of the alcohol and level of ethoxylation drive the adsorption potential, but it also depends on the properties of the soil, sediment or suspended solids to which the substance adsorbs. The available QSAR calculations and experimental data demonstrate a potential for adsorption for the alcohol ethoxylates, which increases with increasing chain length and level of ethoxylation.

Experimentally determined BCF-values given for pure homologues and summarized in the publication of Tolls et al. (2000) are used as read-across data for the endpoint bioaccumulation in water. It can be stated that bioaccumulation of alcohol ethoxylates is regarded to be negligible as the surfactants will be rapidly metabolised.



HERA - Human & Environmental Risk Assessment on ingredients of European household cleaning products (2009). Alcohol Ethoxylates. Version 2.0, September, 2009

Marcomini, A., Zanette, M., Pojana, G., Suter, M. (2000a). Behavior of Aliphatic Alcohol Polyethoxylates and their Metabolites under Standardized Aerobic Biodegradation Conditions. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 19, 549–554.

Marcomini, A., Pojana, G., Carrer, C., Cavalli, L., Cassani, L., Lazzarin, M. (2000b). Aerobic Biodegradation of Monobranched Aliphatic Alcohol Polyethoxylates. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 19, 555-560.