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Ecological risks of home and personal care products in the riverine environment of a rural region in South China without domestic wastewater treatment facilities

Zhang, Nai-Sheng, Liu, You-sheng, Van den Brink, Paul J., Price, Oliver R., Ying, Guang-Guo
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2015 v.122 pp. 417-425
UV filters, benthic organisms, biocides, carbendazim, clotrimazole, deet, filters, methylparaben, municipal wastewater, personal care products, risk, risk assessment, rivers, rural areas, sediments, sewage treatment, surface water, wastewater treatment, wet season, China
Home and personal care products (HPCPs) including biocides, benzotriazoles (BTs) and ultraviolet (UV) filters are widely used in our daily life. After use, they are discharged with domestic wastewater into the receiving environment. This study investigated the occurrence of 29 representative HPCPs, including biocides, BTs and UV filters, in the riverine environment of a rural region of South China where no wastewater treatment plants were present, and assessed their potential ecological risks to aquatic organisms. The results showed the detection of 11 biocides and 4 BTs in surface water, and 9 biocides, 3 BTs and 4 UV filters in sediment. In surface water, methylparaben (MeP), triclocarban (TCC), and triclosan (TCS) were detected at all sites with median concentrations of 9.23ng/L, 2.64ng/L and 5.39ng/L, respectively. However, the highest median concentrations were found for clotrimazole (CLOT), 5-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (MBT) and carbendazim (CARB) at 55.6ng/L, 33.7ng/L and 13.8ng/L, respectively. In sediment, TCC, TCS, and UV-326 were detected with their maximum concentrations up to 353ng/g, 155ng/g, and 133ng/g, respectively. The concentrations for those detected HPCPs in surface water and sediment were generally lower in the upper reach (rural area) of Sha River than in the lower reach of Sha River with close proximity to Dongjiang River (Pt-test<0.05), indicating other input sources of HPCPs in the lower reach. Biocides showed significantly higher levels in surface water in the wet season than in the dry and intermediate seasons. Preliminary risk assessment demonstrated that the majority of HPCPs monitored represented low risk in surface waters. There are potentially greater risks to aquatic organisms from the use of TCS and TCC in the wet season than in dry and intermediate seasons in surface waters. This preliminary assessment also indicates potential concerns associated with TCC, TCS, DEET, CARB, and CLOT in sediments, although additional data should be generated to assess this fully. Thus future research is needed to investigate ecological effects of these HPCPs on benthic organisms in sediment of rural rivers receiving untreated wastewater discharge.