Emergence and fate of cyclic volatile polydimethylsiloxanes (D4, D5) in municipal waste streams: release mechanisms, partitioning and persistence in air, water, soil and sediments

Sci Total Environ. 2014 Jan 15;468-469:46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.08.006. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Siloxane use in consumer products (i.e., fabrics, paper, concrete, wood, adhesive surfaces) has significantly increased in recent years due to their excellent water repelling and antimicrobial characteristics. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the release mechanisms of two siloxane compounds, octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), which have been detected both at landfills and wastewater treatment plants, estimate persistence times in different media, and project release quantities over time in relation to their increasing use. Analyses were conducted based on fate and transport mechanisms after siloxanes enter waste streams. Due to their high volatility, the majority of D4 and D5 end up in the biogas during decomposition. D5 is about ten times more likely to partition into the solid phase (i.e., soil, biosolids). D5 concentrations in the wastewater influent and biogas are about 16 times and 18 times higher respectively, in comparison to the detected levels of D4.

Keywords: Biogas; Degradation; Half-life; Landfill; Partitioning; Siloxane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atmosphere / chemistry
  • Biofuels / analysis
  • Carbon / analysis
  • Cities*
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Fresh Water / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Siloxanes / analysis*
  • Siloxanes / chemistry
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Waste Products / analysis*


  • Biofuels
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Siloxanes
  • Soil
  • Waste Products
  • decamethylcyclopentasiloxane
  • Carbon
  • octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane