Ecotoxicological effects of polyacrylate and polyacrylamide in fertilizer on soil and water organisms
Some fertilizers contain polymers composed of acrylamide or acrylic acid. Cross-linked polyacrylamides and polyacrylates can absorb huge amounts of water and are therefore used for improving the water retention capacity of soil and to promote a slow release of nutrients. Linear polyacrylamides in turn are water soluble and are used as flocculant in many industrial processes. They can therefore be found as production residuals in various fertilizers.
To this point, most fertilizers containing polyacrylamides and polyacrylates are not authorized in Switzerland. The risk caused by their application, however, is difficult to assess. As polymers are not covered by most chemical regulations, knowledge about their ecotoxicological effects is still limited. Therefore, the current knowledge about the effect of polyacrylamides and polyacrylates to soil and water organisms will be summarised. In addition, the feasibility of deriving critical values for use in risk assessment will be evaluated.