Concentrations, Spatial and Seasonal Variations of Organophosphate Esters in UK Freshwater Sediment
25 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2023 Publication Status: Accepted
Because of their extensive application as flame retardants, plasticisers, and anti-forming agents, the environmental presence and toxicity of organophosphate esters (OPEs) has become a subject of increasing concern. This study provides the first report of OPEs in UK freshwater sediments with a focus on the possible impact of factors such as spatial/seasonal variation and WWTPs on the measured OPE concentrations in UK riverine and canal sediment. Detection frequencies of the target analytes (tris (chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris (2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TClPP), tris (1,3-dichloro-2 propyl) phosphate (TDClPP), tri-n-butyl phosphate (TNBP), tris (2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP), 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP), tris (phenyl) phosphate (TPHP), and tri-m-tolyl phosphate (TmTP)) ranged from 58% to 100%. The relative abundance of Cl-OPEs was TCIPP>TCEP>TDCIPP and the concentration of Σ8OPEs ranged from 107 ng g-1 (dry weight - dw) (in the Worcester-Birmingham canal) to 52 ng g-1 (dw) in both rivers Severn and Sowe). The highest ∑8OPE concentration for all study locations was recorded during autumn months (September, October, and November) and concentrations of ∑8OPEs in sediment samples from the River Severn, River Tame, and River Sowe all varied inversely with the river level and flow rate. The average concentrations of each target OPE in each study location were lower than those reported elsewhere but fell broadly within the range of concentrations reported from other countries. The potential risk posed by target OPEs in all study locations was found to be low, except for a moderate risk identified for EHDPP in the Worcester - Birmingham canal.
Keywords: Organophosphate esters (OPEs), wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), freshwater sediment, flame retardants, seasonal variation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation