In the present study, 40 freshwater sediments collected near 14 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across the United States were analyzed for eight N-nitrosamines by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Three N-nitrosamines were detected for the first time in freshwater sediments in units of ng/g dry weight at the specified detection frequency: N-nitrosodibutylamine (NDBA; 0.2-3.3; 58%), N-nitrosodiphenylamine (NDPhA; 0.2-4.7; 50%), and N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR; 3.4-19.6; 18%). At least one N-nitrosamine was detected in 70% (28/40) of sediments analyzed. Non-detect values in units of ng/g dw were obtained for N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA; . 0.05). This is the first report on the occurrence of the carcinogenic N-nitrosamines NDBA, NDPhA, and NPYR in U.S. freshwater sediments. Discovery of this phenomenon warrants further research on the compounds' origin, environmental persistence, aquatic toxicity, and risks posed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 18 2016


  • Environmental fate
  • N-Nitrosamine
  • Sediment contamination
  • Wastewater treatment plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering

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