Pseudoephedrine

CAS RN: 90-82-4

Exposure Summary

Pseudoephedrine's production and use as a decongestant may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams. It is found in plants of the genus Ephedra (Ephedraceae) known in traditional medicine as Ma Huang. If released to air, an estimated vapor pressure of 8.3X10-4 mm Hg at 25 deg C indicates pseudoephedrine will exist in both the vapor and particulate phases in the atmosphere. Vapor-phase pseudoephedrine will be degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals; the half-life for this reaction in air is estimated to be 4 hours. Particulate-phase pseudoephedrine will be removed from the atmosphere by wet or dry deposition Pseudoephedrine does not contains chromophores that absorb at wavelengths >290 nm and therefore is not expected to be susceptible to direct photolysis by sunlight. If released to soil, pseudoephedrine is expected to have high mobility based upon an estimated Koc of 73. However, the pKa of pseudoephedrine is 10.25, indicating that this compound will primarily exist in the cation form in the environment and cations generally adsorb more strongly to soils containing organic carbon and clay than their neutral counterparts. Biodegradation data are not available. If released into water, pseudoephedrine is not expected to adsorb to suspended solids and sediment based upon the estimated Koc. A pKa of 10.25 indicates pseudoephedrine will exist almost entirely in the cation form at pH values of 5 to 9 and therefore volatilization from water surfaces is not expected to be an important fate process. An estimated BCF of 3 suggests the potential for bioconcentration in aquatic organisms is low. Hydrolysis is not expected to be an important environmental fate process since this compound lacks functional groups that hydrolyze under environmental conditions. Occupational exposure to pseudoephedrine may occur through inhalation and dermal contact with this compound at workplaces where pseudoephedrine is produced or used. Exposure to pseudoephedrine among the general population may be limited to those administered various decongestants. (SRC)
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