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From Source: SODIUM SULPHATE CAS N°: 7757-82-6 OECD SIDS April 2005

In the last 100 years sulfate concentrations have greatly increased in some rivers because of increased industrial and agricultural activities. In rivers the concentration has increased as well due to human activities, from 50 mg/L (natural background) to 60 mg/L since the 1950's. The sulfate ion concentration is highly variable in surface waters where it is linked to sulfur-bearing minerals. Sulfate concentrations range from 2 to 30 mg/l for most rivers and lakes in the US. However, some lakes in the Cariboo region and in Richter pass near Osoyoos have particularly high natural sulfate levels of the thousands of mg/l (Ministry of water, land and air protection,2000). Most freshwaters contain at least a few parts per million of sulfate, but 20 to 50 ppm or more are common in the easternand most of. Seawater contains levels of about 2700 ppm (Hitchcock, 1975).

Sea salt aerosols are produced in large quantities but do not appear to be a significant source of atmospheric sulfate, except near the place where they are produced due to the fact that they are too large to remain in the air. Hitchcock (1975) also states that levels of sulfate in air samples in plumes from fossil fuel power-generating plants decline very rapidly with distance from the source even when atmospheric conditions produce minimal dispersion of the plume.

The author measured the following concentrations in the air in:

·        Non-urban sites: 4.9-8.6 µg/m3

·        Coastal urban sites in: 8.1-11.3 µg/m3

·        Other coastal sites: 10.7-12.2 µg/m3

·        Inlandcities: 6.0-10.3 µg/m3

Urbanisation does not appear to influence the sulfate levels in. Most of the sulfate observed in the non-urban sites appears to be of local origin.

Hydrogen sulfide derived from the energy metabolism of bacterial sulfate reducers is the principal source of the 100 to 200 million ton of sulfur annually contributed to the global atmosphere. 


Since sodium sulfate is soluble in water itis expected to infiltrate the soil. Most of the ions will migrate downwards through the soil with the penetrating water, for it does not interact with soil given the very low log Kow. Sodium sulfate may run off with surface water when the soil is saturated with moisture e.g. after a rainfall (Environment Canada, 1985).