National inventory of alkylphenol ethoxylate compounds in U.S. sewage sludges and chemical fate in outdoor soil mesocosms

Arjun K. Venkatesan, Rolf Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

We determined the first nationwide inventories of alkylphenol surfactants in U.S. sewage sludges (SS) using samples from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2001 national SS survey. Additionally, analysis of archived 3-year outdoor mesocosm samples served to determine chemical fates in SS-amended soil. Nonylphenol (NP) was the most abundant analyte (534 ± 192 mg/kg) in SS composites, followed by its mono- and di-ethoxylates (62.1 ± 28 and 59.5 ± 52 mg/kg, respectively). The mean annual load of NP and its ethoxylates in SS was estimated at 2408-7149 metric tonnes, of which 1204-4289 is applied on U.S. land. NP compounds showed observable loss from SS/soil mixtures (1:2), with mean half-lives ranging from 301 to 495 days. Surfactant levels in U.S. SS ten-times in excess of European regulations, substantial releases to U.S. soils, and prolonged half-lives found under field conditions, all argue for the U.S. to follow Europe's move from 20 years ago to regulate these chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume174
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 7 2013

Keywords

  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates
  • Biosolids
  • Emerging contaminants
  • National inventory
  • Soil half-life
  • Surfactants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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