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The effect of reformulation of household powder laundry detergents on their contribution to heavy metals levels in wastewater

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Studies have demonstrated that numerous sources contribute to the levels of heavy metals found in municipal wastewater, including the water supply, industry, and residential activities. An earlier study identified the heavy metals contribution of household washing products compared to other sources. Since that time, a major nationwide reformulation of powder laundry detergents has taken place, warranting a reexamination of their heavy metals contributions. In addition, the wastewater systems that were the subject of the previous study have instituted industrial source controls that have reduced heavy metals from them. As in the previous study, heavy metals analyses of current household powder laundry detergent and product usage rates were used to determine the contributions of household washing products to levels of heavy metals in influent and effluent wastewaters. The heavy metals contributions from household washing products to current and future effluent limits were determined to be 0.5% or less for cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc. The highest heavy metal contribution from household washing products was for arsenic, which accounts for 2% and 1% of current and future permit levels, respectively.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1998

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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