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J Environ Monit. 2001 Dec;3(6):621-6.

Occurrence of organophosphate esters in surface water and ground water in Germany.

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Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Institut für Mineralogie, Frankfurt, Germany.


The present investigation was carried out to quantify the three organophosphate esters, tributyl phosphate (TBP), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate(TCEP) and tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate(TBEP), in river, rain and ground water obtained from several locations in Germany, and to compare the data with those obtained about 15 years ago. Additionally, one influent and one effluent sample of waste water from a local waste water treatment plant were investigated. The applied analytical method is based on solid phase extraction (SPE), in order to concentrate polar compounds from water samples, followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) of the extracts. A total of 5 1 of the respective water samples was used for extraction purposes and analyte recoveries were all > or = 83%. The detection limit for the target analytes was 1 ng l(-1) and the relative standard deviations for replicate injections (n = 10) were 14.0% for TBP, 12.6% for TCEP and 9.9% for TBEP. The presence of the organophosphorus compounds, TBP, TCEP and TBEP, in Germany has resulted in water concentrations of 17-1,510 ng l(-1) in the Rhine, Elbe, Main, Oder, Nidda and Schwarzbach Rivers. The maximum value of TBP measured in the Rhine River was 17 times lower than the maximum value measured 10 years ago. The maximum value of TCEP measured in the Rhine River was 100 times lower than the maximum value measured in previous investigations. The maximum concentration of TBEP measured in the Elbe River was seven times higher than the value measured 16 years ago. Similar concentrations of TBP, TCEP and TBEP were also detected in ground water and rain water. The highest levels of these compounds were detected in samples of waste water.

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