Acrolein

CAS RN: 107-02-8

Exposure Summary

Acrolein's production and use as an intermediate in the production of acrylic acid, methionine and many other compounds and as a biocide in the control of algae, weeds, and mollusks in recirculating process water systems may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams. Its use as an aquatic herbicide and slimicide in drilling muds will result in its direct release to the environment. Acrolein is release to the environment from combustion sources such as residential fireplaces, burning of coal, oil, and natural gas in power plants, automobile exhaust, overheated vegetable and animal fats, tobacco and marijuana smoke. Acrolein is found naturally in the body in very small amounts as a product of lipid oxidation and the metabolism of alpha-hydroxyamino acids and occurs in the environment as a product of fermentation and ripening processes. If released to air, a vapor pressure of 274 mm Hg at 25 deg C indicates acrolein will exist solely as a vapor in the atmosphere. Vapor-phase acrolein will be degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals, ozone, and nitrate radicals; the half-lives for these reactions in air are estimated to be 19 hours, 38 days, and 98 days, respectively. Acrolein absorbs at wavelengths >290 nm and, therefore, may be susceptible to direct photolysis by sunlight. Based on measured quantum yields, the half-life for direct photolysis of acrolein in the atmosphere has been estimated to be approximately 10 days in the lower troposphere and <5 days in the upper troposphere. Acrolein has been detected in rainwater, indicating that it may be removed by wet deposition. If released to soil, acrolein is expected to have very high mobility based upon an estimated Koc of 1.0. Volatilization from moist soil surfaces is expected to be an important fate process based upon a Henry's Law constant of 1.22X10-4 atm-cu m/mole. Acrolein may volatilize from dry soil surfaces based upon its vapor pressure. It has been reported that acrolein is metabolized easily in soil, being mineralized to carbon dioxide. In a laboratory study conducted in an aerobic sandy loam soil, acrolein was completely gone within 8 hours in the nonsterile soils and within 115 hours in the sterilized soil; the biotransformation half-life in the nonsterile soil was calculated to be 4.2 hours. In field dissipation studies, acrolein had a half-life of 7.5 to 10.2 hours. If released into water, acrolein is not expected to adsorb to suspended solids and sediment based upon the estimated Koc. Results of biodegradation studies in aquatic systems suggest that acrolein, at low concentrations, is subject to aerobic biodegradation. Volatilization from water surfaces is expected to be an important fate process based upon this compound's Henry's Law constant. Estimated volatilization half-lives for a model river and model lake are 7.6 hours and 4.6 days, respectively. An estimated BCF of 3 suggests the potential for bioconcentration in aquatic organisms is low. Although acrolein has no hydrolyzable functional group, the simple and reversible hydration of acrolein to form 3-hydroxypropan-1-al is known to proceed by first order kinetics. Half-lives in buffers at pH 6-8 were 1.7 to 2.3 days. Hydrolysis half-lives of 3.5 days (pH 5), 1.5 days (pH 7), and 4 hours (pH 10) have also been reported. Dissipation half-lives of <1 to 3 days have been reported for acrolein in surface water (combined effect of degradation and volatilization). Acrolein dissipation half-lives of 150 hours (pH 5), 120-180 hours (pH 7), and 5-40 hours (pH 9) in water have also been reported. Occupational exposure to acrolein may occur through inhalation and dermal contact with this compound at workplaces where acrolein is produced or used. Monitoring data indicate that the general population may be exposed to acrolein via inhalation of ambient air, ingestion of food, and smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes or marijuana. (SRC)
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