The coastal environment of South China, particularly the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, has been undergoing significant modifications due to rapid economic growth and industrialization. These may increase the demand for new and existing chemicals used in the manufacture of products for both domestic use and export. It is, therefore, conceivable that large amounts of toxic substances, including classes of compounds referred to as “Emerging Chemicals of Concern (ECCs)”, are found in this region. ECCs, such as halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), per-/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), have been detected in municipal wastewaters, surface and ground waters, drinking waters as well as sediments and aquatic biota. The presence of certain ECCs in local wildlife such as marine mammals and waterbirds indicates that they are bioavailable and are bioaccumulative. A recent study carried out in the South China Sea further revealed that the highest levels of some ECCs were recorded in seawater samples collected at the mouth of the Pearl River as compared with other coastal sites. Although HFRs, PFASs, and PPCPs have attracted wide attention as global environmental contaminants, there are still considerable data gaps in our understanding of the environmental fate and risks of these contaminants in the PRD region. This paper aims to discuss the current status and trends of important ECCs in South China.
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2016|