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Old 04-02-2013, 12:49 AM   #1
Walking_Target
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Default Dodecylbenzene sulfonated acid and food safety (mid level chemistry question)

I'm thinking of switching to Star-San as my go-to cleaner. I really like the idea of the no-rinse, guaranteed foamy sanitation that it offers.

The part that bugs me is the large portion of the dodecylbenzene sulfonate.

Chemically speaking, I know it has the potential to break down into perfectly harmless compounds which can be used by yeast as food.

But I'm not able to find any kind of decomposition or breakdown for this compound. The worrying thing is that I could see how the benzene ring could be left intact, and well, benzene really isn't good for you.

Any smarter chemists out there that could put my mind at ease?

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Old 04-02-2013, 01:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walking_Target
I'm thinking of switching to Star-San as my go-to cleaner. I really like the idea of the no-rinse, guaranteed foamy sanitation that it offers.

The part that bugs me is the large portion of the dodecylbenzene sulfonate.

Chemically speaking, I know it has the potential to break down into perfectly harmless compounds which can be used by yeast as food.

But I'm not able to find any kind of decomposition or breakdown for this compound. The worrying thing is that I could see how the benzene ring could be left intact, and well, benzene really isn't good for you.

Any smarter chemists out there that could put my mind at ease?
I don't see any way the sulfate group will part ways with the benzene ring. Benzene is carcinogenic because it fits nicely between base pairs in DNA (intercalating agent). The sulfate group should make it too bulky to cause problems.
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:03 AM   #3
alien
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It is a typical anionic detergent. I think you can assume that it is pretty safe, given that several million tons of it are manufactured each year largely for household purposes.

The Merck Index doesn't say much about it, except that the LD50 in mice is 2g/kg orally. Way more than you'd ever be exposed to so not scary.

According to this document, there is no evidence that it is a carcinogen in rodents. The primary degradation intermediates are sulfophenyl carboxylates (SPCs), which further degrade to CO2, sulphate, and water - all pretty harmless.

http://www.chem.unep.ch/irptc/sids/oecdsids/las.pdf

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