Environmental fate of polyhexamethylene biguanide

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2012 Mar;88(3):322-5. doi: 10.1007/s00128-011-0436-3. Epub 2011 Oct 29.


Polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) is used as a bacteriocidal agent in a variety of applications from medical devices to pools, but is highly toxic to some aquatic species. The stability of PHMB in various environmental matrices was examined. 80% of PHMB was present in fortified creek samples after 20 days, but bound immediately to soils with the exception of sandy soil. PHMB was absorbed to below detectable levels by weathered concrete within 12 h. In addition, one over the counter wound care product containing PHMB was evaluated to assess environmental leaching; detectable levels (20 μg/mL) were still present after 1 week.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis*
  • Biguanides / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Fresh Water / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biguanides
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • polihexanide