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The assessment is based on the data currently available. New studies, based on the category review and the final decisions issued for some of the category substances, which are also relevant for this assessment, are currently being conducted. The hazard assessment with respect to aquatic toxicity will be updated once all ongoing studies have been finalised.

The alkyl ether sulfates grouped within the AES category show similar structural, physico-chemical, environmental and toxicological properties. The approach of grouping different AES for the evaluation of their effects on human health and the environment was also made by the Danish EPA (2001) and HERA (2008), supporting the read across approach between structurally related AES. The aquatic toxicity of the alkyl ether sulfates has been evaluated in studies on fish, invertebrates and algae as well as microorganisms. In most of the given studies AES were tested as sodium salts. As the cation counterpart of the AES anions is not expected to influence the ecotoxicological profile of the substance, read-across is possible between all comparable mixtures independent from the cation.

For C12-13 alcohol ethoxysulfates (CAS 161074-79-9) short-term studies on freshwater species of three trophic levels (fish, invertebrates and algae) are available or covered by studies available for the mixture C12-14 alcohol ethoxysulfates (CAS 68891-38-3) representing the worst-case mixture concerning toxicity to aquatic organisms. C12-14 alcohol ethoxysulfates contain high amounts of the most toxic alcohol ethoxysulfates homologue C14 (15 -14%).

Chronic endpoints were covered by several studies conducted with different mixtures. For fish one long-term study is available for the mixture alcohol C12-14 ethoxysulfates (2EO) Na (CAS 68891-38-3) resulting in a NOEC-value of 0.14 mg/L (TEGEWA, 1995). The results of that key study are supported by investigations with the pure AES homologue (C14, 2EO) Na and with the similar alcohol ethoxysulfate mixture (C14-16, 2EO) Na. In the supporting studies NOEC-values of 0.18 mg/L and 1 mg/L were reported (P&G, 2004 and P&G, 1979a/b). For daphnids one chronic study is available for the mixture alcohol C12 -14 ethoxysulfates (2.25 EO), resulting in a NOEC of 0.27 mg/L (P&G, 1977). The result of that key study is further supported by data available for other alcohol ethoxysulfate mixtures. In the supporting studies NOEC-values of 0.18 mg/L and 0.730 mg/L were reported for a C14 -C15 AES with 2.25 EO (P&G, 1987 and P&G, 1997). A chronic algae endpoint is reported in the study of Scholz (Sasol, 1993c). In this study an NOEC-value of 0.95 mg a.s./L for growth rate is reported.

For the environmental risk assessment further data were taken into account as different AES-homologues are expected to differ in their toxicity. That means in theory that a PNEC could be derived for each AES and the resulting quotients summed to determine the risk of an alcohol ethoxylated sulfated mixture as a toxic unit approach. Choosing an average structure approach, a toxic unit approach or some combination (for example consideration of individual carbon chain lengths but with average EO-concentration) requires consideration of toxicity QSAR (HERA, 2008). Such a QSAR is developed by Dyer et al. (2000) on the basis of chronic data available from 7 -days toxicity tests conducted with Ceriodaphnia dubia. In that study daphnids were exposed to twelve different alcohol ethoxysulfates at different concentrations. In addition a mixture study with four AES structures was conducted to determine if the components were additive in toxicity. The chronic QSAR estimates a parabolic relationship between carbon number and toxicity increasing from C12 to C15 and then decreasing. The QSAR is based on an extrapolation for carbon chain lengths longer than C15 (HERA, 2008). The QSAR developed by Dyer is used to determine a NOEC-value for alcohol C12 -13, linear and branched, ethoxysulfates. Therefore mean-values of the amounts of C12 and C13 were used in the model considering a worst case degree of ethoxylation of 1EO (in case of C12: 40% and in case of C13: 60%). The resulting NOEC-value could thus be predicted to be 0.64 mg/L. This value is used with an assessment factor of 5 for the PNEC-calculation.



Danish EPA (2001): Environmental and Health Assessment of Substances in Household Detergents and Cosmetic Detergent Products. Environmental Project No. 615, pp. 24-28

Dyer, S. D., Stanton, D. T., Lauth, J. R. and Cherry, D. S. (2000): Structure-activity relationship for acute and chronic toxicity of alcohol ether sulfates. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 608 -616, 2000

HERA - Human & Environmental Risk Assessment on ingredients of European household cleaning products (2008). Alcohol Ethoxysulphates (AES).