Surfactants are a diverse group of economically important chemicals widely used on a global scale in a diverse range of products. Their global market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.02% from 2015 to 2019 .
Following their use, surfactants typically enter wastewater treatment plants, where removal is highly efficient. However, high consumption rates mean there is always a certain fraction that is not removed, hence surfactants enter aquatic ecosystems via wastewater discharge and have been detected in marine waters and sediments . Although there are numerous freshwater environmental risk assessments, risk assessment based on experimental marine data has been scarcely investigated.
Recognition of the economic and ecological importance of marine environments and their sensitivity towards anthropogenic impacts is growing. Consequently, increased emphasis is being placed on their protection.
To investigate the extent and quality of available marine (water and sediment) experimental data, ERASM commissioned an extensive review of experimental marine fate (biodegradation, bioconcentration, monitoring) and ecotoxicity data for five key surfactants (chosen based on their production volume or historical significance).