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Assessing the impacts of chemical cocktails on the soil ecosystem.


Little is known about the environmental fate and effect of low levels of co-contaminants that are commonly present in wastes such as biosolids. Lysimeters were established using soils contaminated with Cu or Zn and augmented with triclosan. Triclosan degraded rapidly in the soils, with methyl-triclosan being the major degradation product. However, as metal concentration increased, transformation and biodegradation of triclosan decreased. For some soil health indicators (e.g. sulphatase enzyme), results suggested that general toxicity was increased when metals and triclosan were both present. These preliminary results suggest that co-contaminants can result in a combined effect that is potentially greater than the sum of the individual effects, with additional impacts on the rate and extent of contaminant degradation.

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