State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China; Institute of Environment and Health, Jianghan University, Wuhan, Hubei 430056, China; College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Parabens, triclocarban (TCC), triclosan (TCS), bisphenols (BPs), and tetrabromobisphenol A and its alternatives (TBBPAs) are used in a broad range of daily consumer products and industrial productions. Concerns have been raised over exposure of humans to these chemicals, because of their adverse health effects. However, information on the spatial distribution of parabens, TCC, TCS, BPs and TBBPAs in sludge from waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) in China is still limited. In this study, 19 endocrine disrupting chemicals, including six parabens, two antimicrobials (TCC and TCS), eight BPs and three TBBPAs, were determined in sludges from 46 WWTPs across China. Concentrations of target chemicals were found in a decreased order as: ∑(TCC+TCS) (mean: 3930, range: 1340-11,100ng/g dw)>∑8BPs (201, 23.1-1240ng/g dw)>∑6parabens (67.9, 10.4-272ng/g dw)>∑3TBBPAs (18.4, 1.36-195ng/g dw). Methyl paraben (MeP), TCC, bisphenol A (BPA) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) were the major compounds found in sludge, accounting for 89.0%, 57.7%, 85.8% and 93.3% of ∑6parabens, ∑(TCC+TCS), ∑8BPs and ∑3TBBPAs, respectively. Elevated concentrations of BPs and TBBPAs were found in sludges from the Northeast China and Central South China (p<0.05), respectively, whereas there were no significant spatial difference in concentrations of parabens or antimicrobials among different geographical regions (p>0.05). Calculation of mass loading showed that sludge from East China (1340kg/yr) and South Central China (1060kg/yr) released relatively more such chemicals. This nationwide study provided baseline concentrations of these chemicals in sludges and estimated their environmental release through sludge in China.