What Happens to Products after Use
Environmental fate scientists study where a chemical goes in the environment and what it does when it gets there. Much of this effort is dedicated to understanding the environmental fate and toxicity of P&G ingredients before, during and after wastewater treatment.
To study the fate of an ingredient, we usually start with computer-based tools, QSPRs (Quantitative Structure Property Relationships), to predict the chemical properties of the substance. This information is combined with measured fate data and with the amount of the ingredient sold. Then a computer- based fate model predicts the concentrations of our ingredients in each environmental compartment (river water, river sediment, sludge amended agricultural soil, groundwater, air). To ensure that these models are accurate, the results are often compared with measured environmental concentrations determined during monitoring studies.
To understand the concentration of consumer product ingredients in the environment, we have to understand wastewater treatment plants. After testing how a detergent ingredient biodegrades in wastewater treatment processes, the next step in understanding its environmental fate is to develop environmental exposure models to anticipate its concentration levels.
The exposure models are then tested and refined through environmental monitoring (collecting samples from various sites and measuring the concentrations of detergent ingredients). Environmental monitoring validates and improves the entire environmental fate process.
For more information, please go to the Environmental Fate page,the Modelling and Monitoring page, and the Wastewater Treatment page.