Occurrence, distribution, and fate of organic UV filters in coral communities

Mirabelle M. P. TSUI, Chung Wah James LAM, T.Y. NG, Put O. ANG, Margaret B. MURPHY, Paul Kwan Sing LAM

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168 Citations (Scopus)


Organic ultraviolet (UV) filters are widely used in personal care products and occur ubiquitously in the aquatic environment. In this study, concentrations of seven commonly used organic UV filters were determined in seawater, sediment and five coral species collected from the eastern Pearl River Estuary of South China Sea. Five compounds, benzophenone-1, −3, and −8 (BP-1, −3, and −8), octocrylene (OC) and octyl dimethyl-p-aminobenzoic acid (ODPABA), were detected in the coral tissues with the highest detection frequencies (>65%) and concentrations (31.8 ± 8.6 and 24.7 ± 10.6 ng/g ww, respectively) found for BP-3 and BP-8. Significantly higher concentrations of BP-3 were observed in coral tissues in the wet season, indicating that higher inputs of sunscreen agents could be attributed to the increased coastal recreational activities. Accumulation of UV filters was only observed in soft coral tissues with bioaccumulation factors (log10-values) ranging from 2.21 to 3.01. The results of a preliminary risk assessment indicated that over 20% of coral samples from the study sites contained BP-3 concentrations exceeding the threshold values for causing larval deformities and mortality in the worst-case scenario. Higher probabilities of negative impacts of BP-3 on coral communities are predicted to occur in wet season. Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4182-4190
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number8
Early online dateMar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


Tsui, M. M. P., Lam, J. C. W., Ng, T. Y., Ang, P. O., Murphy, M. B., & Lam, P. K. (2017). Occurrence, distribution, and fate of organic UV filters in coral communities. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(8), 4182-4190.


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