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Testing of Eluates from Waterproof Building Materials for Potential Environmental Effects Due to the Behavior of Enchytraeus albidus

von Wolff, Marya Anne; Pflugmacher, Stephan; Stephan, Dietmar

FG Baustoffe und Bauchemie

In order to determine the potential environmental impact of construction products, it is necessary to evaluate their influence on organisms exposed to them or their eluates under environmental conditions. The behavior of the white worm Enchytraeus albidus is a useful tool for assessing the potential environmental impact of construction products in contact with water and soil. This study investigates the environmental effects of eluates from two construction products, a reactive waterproofing product, and an injection resin, on the reproduction and avoidance behavior of E. albidus. The eluates were prepared according to existing guidelines. The soil used for the tests was moistened with the eluates of the construction products. The reproduction results of the worms were collected after six weeks of exposure. Offsprings were counted under the microscope and statistically analyzed. Results from the avoidance behavior were collected after 48 h of exposure, and results were compared with the reproduction results. The eluates from both construction products induced significant changes in the reproduction behavior of E. albidus. Undiluted or only slightly diluted eluates of the injection resin drastically reduced the reproduction of the worms, whereas the leaches of the reactive waterproofing product only had a minor effect. The avoidance results for the injection resin indicates that its presence in the habitat is clearly detrimental to the survival of E. albidus, while the avoidance results for the waterproofing resin showed an initial avoidance of the eluates, but no harmful effects were observed. The avoidance test is a way of rapid toxicity screening of environmental samples when time is a critical parameter to measure possible environmental effects. This study shows that ecotoxicological tests using Enchytraeids are a valuable and important tool for understanding the mode of action of eluates from construction products in the environment.