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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Jun 15;44(12):4545-51. doi: 10.1021/es1001105.

Dioxin photoproducts of triclosan and its chlorinated derivatives in sediment cores.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Minnesota, 207 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


Triclosan, a widely used antimicrobial, is known to undergo phototransformation in aqueous solution to form 2,8-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,8-DCDD). Two sediment cores from a wastewater-impacted depositional zone of the Mississippi River were analyzed for triclosan by ultra performance liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS-Q(3)) and for a suite of polychlorinated dioxins and furans by high resolution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HRGC-MS) to provide evidence of this photoreaction in the environment. 2,8-DCDD was detected at levels that trended with the historical use of triclosan since its introduction in the 1960s. Three other dioxin congeners, 2,3,7-TCDD, 1,2,8-TriCDD, and 1,2,3,8-TCDD, which are known photoproducts of chlorinated derivatives of triclosan, were also detected with similar trend profiles. These four congeners comprised the majority of di- through tetra-chlorinated dioxins. The trend profile of these specific dioxin congeners did not correlate with the trend profile of the higher-chlorinated dioxin homologues or any chlorinated furan homologues, suggesting a unique source. These results are fully consistent with the phototransformation of triclosan and its chlorinated derivatives that form during wastewater chlorine disinfection as the source of 2,8-DCDD, 2,3,7-TriCDD, 1,2,8-TriCDD, and 1,2,3,8-TCDD in this aquatic environment. As the levels of triclosan-derived dioxins increased over time and the total level of chlorinated dioxins decreased, the contribution of triclosan-derived dioxins to the total dioxin pool increased to as high as 31% by mass in recent years, indicating that their contribution to total dioxin toxicity may need consideration.

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