Environmental Monitoring and Contaminants Research
Online ISSN : 2435-7685
Monitoring of phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals by direct acetylation method: Pollution status in Tokyo rivers in 2016–2019 and estimation of their sources
Mahiro GOMIKaoruko MIZUKAWA Hideshige TAKADA
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2022 Volume 2 Pages 1-13


To analyze a wide range of phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals, including alkylphenols, bisphenol A (BPA) and its analogues, triclosan (TCS), thymol, and phenolic UV filters, a direct acetylation method has been developed and applied to 116 river water samples and 40 sewage treatment plant (STP) effluent samples collected in 2016–2019 in Tokyo, Japan. This method can simultaneously derivatize a range of target chemicals to inert acetylates at an early stage in the analytical procedure. In this study, nonylphenol concentrations in the Tamagawa River (median 5.7 ng/L) and the Sumidagawa River (median 13.4 ng/L) were one order of magnitude lower than those 20 years ago. Similarly, the TCS and BPA concentrations (median 27.0 ng/L and 11.0 ng/L, respectively) decreased by ~80% compared to the values obtained in studies conducted ~20 years ago. These decreases can be attributed to reduced production due to the establishment of environmental standards and industrial self-regulation. Most target chemicals had higher concentrations in the STP effluents than in river water, indicating that STP effluents are major sources of the chemicals. However, BPA in the Tamagawa River exhibited a different spatial pattern. Namely, BPA concentrations in the STP effluents (~5 ng/L) in the middle and lower reaches were lower than those in the receiving water (~15 ng/L). Meanwhile, effluents from two upstream STPs had extremely high BPA concentrations of up to 158 ng/L, revealing effluents from these STPs as major sources of BPA in the Tamagawa River. There are several landfills in the upstream STP catchment area, and their leachate is likely to contribute to the high concentrations of BPA in the STP effluents and river water. This is consistent with the composition of BPA and its alternatives, including BPAP, BPZ, BPS, BPB, BPE, BPF, BPAF, in the effluents from the STPs. The upstream STPs showed a predominance of BPA, whereas the alternatives, such as BPS and BPF, were dominant in the STPs in the middle and lower reaches. The compositional difference can be ascribed to the recent replacement of BPA with alternatives and BPA leaching from plastic products dumped in the 1980s and 1990s.

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