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A critical review of synthetic chemicals in surface waters of the US, the EU and China

Fang, Wendi, Peng, Ying, Muir, Derek, Lin, Jun, Zhang, Xiaowei
Environment international 2019 v.131 pp. 104994
European Union, antiretroviral agents, bioaccumulation, drugs, fipronil, geographical distribution, human health, ingredients, land use, landscapes, personal care products, pollutants, risk, surface water, surveys, toxicity, water pollution, wildlife, China, United States
There is a wide concern that emerging organic pollutants (EOPs) in surface water could adversely affect human health and wildlife. However, the geographic distribution, exposure pattern and ecological risk of emerging organic pollutants are poorly understood at a global scale. This paper provides a comprehensive survey on the exposure level of EOPs in China, the US and the EU based on the published literature. The hazard level of three categories of EOPs, namely pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), pesticides and industrial chemicals was further evaluated by adopting a novel Aquatic HazPi index that jointly accounts for the persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity and bioactivity. Furthermore, a correlation analysis of land use with the surface water exposure status regarding the synthetic chemicals was conducted. According to the published data reported between 2010 and 2016, the concentration of pesticides in the US was higher than in the EU and China. The concentration of PPCPs in the EU was generally lower than in both the US and China, while the concentration of industrial chemicals in China was higher than in the EU and the US. Among the chemicals whose median concentration in surface water was >10 ng/L, the antiretroviral Efavirenz, the pesticide Fipronil, and octocrylene, an industrial chemical and cosmetic ingredient, were found with the highest aquatic HazPi value. Lastly, the spatial distribution and concentration of hazardous EOPs was shown to depend on local landscape and land usages. Our study provides the first broad overview on the geographic distribution, exposure pattern of hazardous EOPs in the three major economic entities: China, the US and the EU.