Organophosphate triesters and diester degradation products in municipal sludge from wastewater treatment plants in China: Spatial patterns and ecological implications

Lingfang FU, Bibai DU, Fei WANG, Chung Wah James LAM, Lixi ZENG, Eddy Y. ZENG

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36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known about the occurrences, distributions, sources, and potential risks of organophosphate (OP) triesters and diester degradation products in municipal sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). In this study, we conducted the first nationwide survey to simultaneously determine a suite of 11 OP triesters and six diester degradation products in sludge from WWTPs across China. All OP triesters were detected and three diesters were identified for the first time in sludge samples. Total concentrations of OP triesters and diester degradation products were in the ranges of 43.9–2160 and 17.0–1300 ng (g of dry weight)⁻¹, respectively, indicating relatively low pollution levels in China compared with those of several developed countries. A distinct geographical variation of higher concentrations of OP triesters and diesters in East China than in Central and West China was observed, suggesting that regional levels of organophosphate esters are associated with the magnitudes of regional economic development. Source analysis revealed nonchlorinated OP diesters are mainly derived from degradation in WWTPs, while chlorinated OP diesters were largely sourced from outside WWTPs. The estimated total emission fluxes of OP triesters and diesters via land-application sludge in China were approximately 330 and 134 kg/year, respectively. Further risk assessment based on risk quotient values in sludge-applied soils indicated low to medium risks for most OP triesters and diesters except tris(methylphenyl) phosphate. The significant accumulation of OP triesters and widespread occurrence of diester degradation products in sludge raise environmental concerns about these contaminants. Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13614-13623
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume51
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Citation

Fu, L., Du, B., Wang, F., Lam, J. C. W., Zeng, L., & Zeng, E. Y. (2017). Organophosphate triesters and diester degradation products in municipal sludge from wastewater treatment plants in China: Spatial patterns and ecological implications. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(23), 13614-13623. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b04106

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