China's rapid growth of both population size and sanitation infrastructure have created a heightened need for responsible management of sewage sludge. We applied liquid chromatography in conjunction with isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry to measure multiple endocrine disrupting antimicrobials and their transformation products in 100 sewage sludge samples collected across 21 Chinese provinces/districts. Occurrences (detection frequencies) and concentrations (ng/g dry weight) were as follows: triclosan (99%; <4-4870), triclocarban (95%; <3–43,300), 2′-hydroxy-triclocarban (94%; <1–2340), 3′-hydroxy-triclocarban (91%; <1-1250), 3,3′,4,4′-tetrachlorocarbanilide (100%; 22–580), dichlorocarbanilide (94%; <2-23,890), monocarbanilide (92%; <2–120), carbanilide (90%; <3-1,340), and five parabens: methyl- (98%; <2-630), ethyl- (96%; <2–170), propyl- (99%; <2–27), butyl- (89%; <2–11) and benzyl-paraben (7%; <2–12). The transformation products of triclocarban were measured for the first time in Chinese wastewater system, and ratios of transformation products to parental triclocarban indicate ongoing triclocarban dechlorination during wastewater treatment. Contaminant profiles and concentrations differed by region, treatment capacity, and wastewater type. Extrapolation of collected data yielded an estimate for the total mass of 13 analytes sequestered in Chinese sewage sludge of 68 t/y with an upper bound of 400 t/y. This China-wide survey established baseline levels of selected antimicrobials in sludges whose current disposal is performed with little regulatory oversight and enforcement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis