Synthetic polycyclic musks in Hong Kong sewage sludge

W. M. SHEK, M. B. MURPHY, Chung Wah James LAM, Paul K. S. LAM

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Synthetic polycyclic musks [Cashmeran (DPMI), Celestolide (ADBI), Phantolide (AHMI), Traseolide (ATII), Tonalide (AHTN), and Galaxolide (HHCB)] were determined in dewatered sludge samples from 10 major sewage treatment plants in Hong Kong using primary treatment (PT), secondary treatment (SecT) or chemical-enhanced primary treatment (CEPT) methods. The concentrations of HHCB, AHTN, AHMI and ADBI ranged from below detection limits to 78.6 mg/kg dry weight. HHCB and AHTN were the two predominant polycyclic musks in sludge samples, suggesting the extensive use of these two polycyclic musks in Hong Kong. Polycyclic musk levels in CEPT sludge were significantly higher than those in SecT and PT sludge, suggesting that CEPT sludge has a higher ability to retain polycyclic musks. Comparisons to global concentrations revealed that HHCB and AHTN concentrations detected in Hong Kong sludge ranked first and second respectively. However, the estimated levels of HHCB and AHTN in the discharged effluent from sewage treatment plants may pose low potential risks to aquatic organisms according to the threshold effect levels derived for fish. Nevertheless, the polycyclic musks released in sewage treatment plant effluents may bioconcentrate and bioaccumulate in the marine environment in Hong Kong. Therefore, monitoring studies in marine ecosystems, particularly on the two prevailing polycyclic musks, are necessary. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1250
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


Shek, W. M., Murphy, M. B., Lam, J. C. W., & Lam, P. K. S. (2008). Synthetic polycyclic musks in Hong Kong sewage sludge. Chemosphere, 71(7), 1241-1250. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.11.069


  • Sewage sludge
  • Hong Kong
  • Polycyclic musks
  • Chemical-enhanced primary treatment
  • GC–MS
  • Risk assessment


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