Occurrence, temporal variation, and estrogenic burden of five parabens in sewage sludge collected across the United States

Jing Chen, Benny F G Pycke, Bruce J. Brownawell, Chad A. Kinney, Edward T. Furlong, Dana W. Kolpin, Rolf Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Five parabens used as preservatives in pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) were measured in sewage sludges collected at 14 U.S. wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located in nine states. Detected concentration ranges (ng/g, dry weight) and frequencies were as follows: methyl paraben (15.9 to 203.0; 100%), propyl paraben (0.5 to 7.7; 100%), ethyl paraben (< 0.6 to 2.6; 63%), butyl paraben (< 0.4 to 4.3; 42%) and benzyl paraben (< 0.4 to 3.3; 26%). The estrogenicity inherent to the sum of parabens detected in sewage sludge (ranging from 10.1 to 500.1 pg/kg 17β-estradiol equivalents) was insignificant when compared to the 106-times higher value calculated for natural estrogens reported in the literature to occur in sewage sludge. Temporal monitoring at one WWTP provided insights into temporal and seasonal variations in paraben concentrations. This is the first report on the occurrence of five parabens in sewage sludges from across the U.S., and internationally, the first on temporal variations of paraben levels in sewage sludge. Study results will help to inform the risk assessment of sewage sludge destined for land application (biosolids).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-374
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume593-594
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Keywords

  • Estrogenic potential
  • Paraben
  • Sludge
  • Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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