Bisphenol A in the Canadian environment: A multimedia analysis.

Affiliation

Gewurtz SB(1), Tardif G(2), Power M(2), Backus SM(3), Dove A(4), Dubé-Roberge K(5), Garron C(6), King M(5), Lalonde B(6), Letcher RJ(7), Martin PA(4), McDaniel TV(4), McGoldrick DJ(4), Pelletier M(8), Small J(4), Smyth SA(4), Teslic S(4), Tessier J(5).
Author information:
(1)Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Ontario L7S 1A1, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3, Canada.
(3)Strategic Policy Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Ontario L7S 1A1, Canada.
(4)Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Burlington, Ontario L7S 1A1, Canada.
(5)Environmental Protection Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3, Canada.
(6)Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 2N6, Canada.
(7)Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3, Canada.
(8)Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Montréal, Quebec H2Y 2E7, Canada.

Abstract

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been identified by some jurisdictions as an environmental concern. In 2010, Canada concluded that this substance posed a risk to the environment and human health, and implemented actions to reduce its concentrations in the environment. To support these activities, a multimedia analysis of BPA in the Canadian environment was conducted to evaluate spatial and temporal trends, and to infer mechanisms influencing the patterns. BPA was consistently detected in wastewater and biosolids across Canadian wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and in landfill leachate. In addition, BPA concentrations were significantly higher in surface water downstream compared to upstream of WWTPs in three of five urban areas evaluated. However, application of biosolids to Canadian agricultural fields did not contribute to elevated BPA concentrations in soil, earthworms, and European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) plasma one and two years post-treatment. Spatial trends of BPA concentrations in surface water and sediment are influenced by human activity, with higher concentrations typically found downstream of industrial sources and WWTPs in urban areas. BPA was detected in bird plasma at locations impacted by WWTPs and landfills. However, spatial trends in birds were less clear and may have been confounded by metabolic biotransformation. In terms of temporal trends, BPA concentrations in surface water decreased significantly at 10 of 16 monitoring sites evaluated between 2008 and 2018. In contrast, recent temporal trends of BPA in six sediment cores were variable, which may be a result of biotransformation of the flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A to BPA. Overall, our study provides evidence that Government of Canada actions have been generally successful in reducing BPA concentrations in the Canadian environment. Our results indicate that long-term monitoring programs using surface water are more effective than other media for tracking and understanding future environmental trends of BPA.