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Does Sodium Polyacrylate pose any short or long term environmental threats?

Question asked by Jake Dodd on Dec 13, 2018

Hi ACS Chemistry team,

Here in Australia a new sport is developing similar to Airsoft that uses little balls of Sodium Polyacrylate as the projectile (standard ball ranges from 7-8mm in diameter when fully swollen). Looking at hosting some summer events on some farm land which will then be used for cattle through the winter months.


I've seen that Sodium Polyacrylate is commonly used for gardening, mostly in potted plants. But in a large scale environment where there are potentially millions of these little balls splattering and spreading through this area would there be anything to watch out for either short term or long term environmentally to the local water table, flora and fauna?


All information I've found this far has is indicating no (claims are that it is biodegradable and not dangerous in small amounts if consumed) but as it is both a salt and an acid what long term threats may it pose?