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Anna Magdalene Brun Hansen


Anna Magdalene Brun Hansen



PhD project: Improved aquatic testing of cationic polymers (polyquaterniums)
University: Aarhus University
Department: Department of Environmental Science, Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
Supervisor:  Hans Sanderson, Senior Researcher, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University
Co-supervisors: Martin Hansen, Senior Researcher,  Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University & Kristin Connors, Scientist in the Global Product Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Organization at the Procter & Gamble Company
Project term: 01.09.2018 – 23.01.2022
Master’s degree: MSc in Environmental Chemistry and Health, Copenhagen University, Denmark.

Polymers are widely used in various applications today. They play an important role in our everyday and it is hard to imagine a world without. In spite of the massive use, polymers are exempt from REACH and do not have to meet the same safety demands as other industry chemicals.

Studies have shown that cationic polymers can act hazardous towards aquatic organisms, but the data is very limited. In addition to this the polydispersity of polymers is challenging when trying to assess and predict - even one polymer name and CAS-number can cover over a widerange of e.g. molecular weight distributions or charge densities. What is driving the toxic effects of this group of compounds?

Polymers are now facing emminent inclusion in REACH, why it is very important to be able to conduct a realistic aquatic hazard identification and good and robust data in order to conduct an environmental assessment of these compounds.


The aim of this project is to improve the test methods for evaluating and predicting the aquatic toxicity of cationic polymers. 

Four cationic "model" polyquaterniums have been chosen on basis of their differences in physical chemical properites in order to investigate the key descriptors of toxicity: Polyquaternium 6, 7, 10 and 16. The project will identify the toxicity in a range of well-established tests: microtoxicity tests, Daphnia magna acute immobilazation test, Daphnia magna chronic reproduction test, fish embryo acute toxicity test and green algae growth inhibition test. All of these tests will aquire data and be optimized for the cationic polymer test compounds, e.g. on parameters like test-water or presence of humic acid In addition, ways of analytically quantify cationic polymers will be explored in close collaboration with our partners. 
The effect to the metabolic profile of daphnia magna exposed to cationic polymers will be investigated in connection to the Environmental Toxicometablomics synergy.


  • Procter and Gamble, Global Product Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Organization, USA
  • Dele af projektet er støttet af Ceficog ECETOC (European Center for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals)  (Long-Range Research Initiative ECO46


More information on the project can be found on the project web-page: http://projects.au.dk/itap/

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