John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Occurrence and distribution of organophosphate flame retardants/plasticizers in wastewater treatment plant sludges from the Pearl River Delta, China

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Organophosphate esters (OPs) are widely used as flame retardants and/or plasticizers and are ubiquitously distributed in the environment. In this study, the occurrence and distribution of seven widely used OPs were analyzed in sludge samples collected from 19 municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Pearl River Delta (PRD), South China. All analytes were detected in these samples, and the total concentration of OPs ranged from 96.7 to 1312.9 µg/kg dry weight (dw), with a mean value of 420.1 µg/kg dw. In most sludge samples, OPs exhibited a similar distribution pattern, e.g, tris(2‐butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBEP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPhP) were identified as the dominant compounds. However, the results also indicated that there were significantly higher levels of OPs in specific sludges, such as tri‐n‐butyl phosphate (TBP, 804.9 µg/kg), TBEP (783.7 µg/kg), TPhP (656.7 µg/kg) and tritolyl phosphate (TTP, 265.0 µg/kg), which implied different discharge sources in the studied areas. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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