Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Fate of Acrylamide Monomer Following Application of Polyacrylamide to Cropland

Authors
item Barvenik, F. - CYTEC INDUSTRIES
item Sojka, Robert
item LENTZ, RODRICK
item Andrawes, F. - CYTEC INDUSTRIES
item Messner, L. - CYTEC INDUSTRIES

Submitted to: University of Idaho Miscellaneous Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: May 6, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Polyacrylamides (PAMs) have begun to receive much attention because of their potential environmental benefit for halting irrigation induced erosion and associated non-point pollution from erosion contamination of return flows and riparian receiving waters. Polyacrylamides have little toxicity and do not degrade to release acrylamide (AMD) monomer (a toxin). Commercial PAMs may contain up to 0.05% residual AMD from manufacturing. Polyacrylamides are safely used in treatment of potable water, wastewater discharging to surface streams and FDA sanctioned food contact applications. AMD is not held by soil, and is chemically and biologically degraded in natural environments, especially under aerobic conditions. There is no evidence of AMD uptake by plants, except for rice grown hydroponically in the presence of extremely high AMD levels. In addition, recent work showed no uptake in potatoes, beans, corn and sugar beets, grown at very high dosages of PAM. AMD was not detected in the crops (detection limit <100 ppb). Reactivity of AMD was demonstrated by spiking studies, in which freshly added AMD was rapidly metabolized in living plant tissue, dropping to undetectable levels in hours. Polyacrylamide is environmentally safe when used according to NRCS application standards.

Technical Abstract: Although polyacrylamides (PAMs) exhibit little toxicity and do not degrade to release acrylamide (AMD) monomer, commercial PAMs may contain up to 0.05% residual AMD from manufacturing. PAMs are used in treatment of potable water, wastewater discharging to surface streams and FDA sanctioned food contact applications. The environmental fate of AMD monomer will be reviewed in this paper. AMD is not adsorbed significantly by soil, and is chemically and biologically labile in natural environments, especially under aerobic conditions. There is no literature evidence of AMD uptake by plants, except for rice grown hydroponically in the presence of extremely high AMD levels. IN addition, recent work with field crops showed no uptake. Potatoes, beans, corn and sugar beets, were grown in the presence of very high dosages of PAM, and AMD was analyzed by gas chromatography. AMD was not detected in the crops (detection limit <100 ppb). Reactivity of AMD was demonstrated by spiking studies, in which freshly added AMD rapidly dropped to undetectable levels.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page