Properties, Potential Toxicity, and Transformations of VMSs in the Environment

  • Kazimierz GajEmail author
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 89)


The main applications of siloxanes, sources of their release, their production volume, and the reasons for the growing interest in them are presented. The premises for which they are currently considered as potential environmental pollutants are explained and commented on. The physical and chemical properties of selected volatile methylsiloxanes are characterized with regard to both the increasing number of their applications and the impact on ecosystems and humans. On the basis of the available scientific literature and official risk assessments, their toxic potential, durability, circulations and transformations in the environment, long-range transport potential, degradation mechanisms, and fate in some environmental compartments are discussed. It is argued that they can interfere with the female reproductive system, the liver, and the lungs and irritate the skin, the eyes, and the respiratory system, considering that their bioaccumulation potential is relatively high. Due to their relative durability, they can be accumulated in various environmental matrices and transported to regions distant from the release sites. It is shown that the main mechanisms of their degradation are hydrolysis and demethylation with OH radicals in, respectively, the water and soil environment and in the air (referred to as the final sink in which the fundamental process of their degradation and decay take place). In conclusion, the need for further research on their impact on human health, their bioaccumulation and biodegradation, their life time and long-term impact on ecosystems, and the development of methods of removing VMSs from wastewater, sludge, and biogas is highlighted.


Emission Environmental risk Mechanisms of degradation Persistence Siloxanes 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental EngineeringWrocław University of Science and TechnologyWrocławPoland

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