Recent research in the US has shown that aircraft deicing and anti-icing operations can contribute to aquatic toxicity in streams receiving runoff from airports during and following snow and ice storms. While several toxic compounds (including benzotriazole corrosion inhibitors and alkylphenol ethoxylate surfactants) have been identified in commercial deicers, there is still uncertainty about the components causing the majority of observed toxicity. This project aims to use a "toxicity identification and evaluation" (TIE) approach to address this question. Specifically, we are using chemical fractionation techniques combined with high-throughput toxicity bioassays and high resolution mass spectrometry to isolate and identify toxic components of commercial deicing/anti-icing fluids. This information will be used to help formulate new types of low-toxicity fluids for use in the nation's airports.
Alternative aircraft and airfield deicing and anti-icing formulations with reduced aquatic toxicity and biological oxygen demand
P. Lee Ferguson (PI)
US Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences