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Environmental fate of processed natural rubber latex

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JournalEnvironmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts
DatePublished - 1 Jul 2013
Issue number7
Volume15
Pages (from-to)1359-1368
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this study, processed natural rubber latex was degraded in outdoor aquatic microcosms, under a number of treatment scenarios for 200 days. The analytical strategy adopted aimed to characterise a range of volatile, semi-volatile and non-volatile substances. Zinc, was shown to migrate from the latex into solution and increase in concentration over time. Dissolved compounds for which predicted formulas were generated largely consisted of oxygen containing compounds, and are potential oxidised polyisoprene oligomers of various chain lengths. A classification of samples based on principal component analysis showed a clear separation of the degraded latex samples from the representative controls. This technique identified an increase in the complexity of the substances produced and showed that these substances undergo further degradation and transformation processes. A number of volatile substances were also identified indicating the atmosphere to be a potential receiving environmental compartment for polymer degradates. Overall, the results show that complex mixtures of substances are produced when polymer-based materials degrade under environmental conditions.

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