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Environ Pollut. 2010 Dec;158(12):3462-71. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.08.009. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Prioritizing research for trace pollutants and emerging contaminants in the freshwater environment.

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Center for Water Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249-0663, USA.


Organic chemicals have been detected at trace concentrations in the freshwater environment for decades. Though the term trace pollutant indicates low concentrations normally in the nanogram or microgram per liter range, many of these pollutants can exceed an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for humans. Trace pollutants referred to as emerging contaminants (ECs) have recently been detected in the freshwater environment and may have adverse human health effects. Analytical techniques continue to improve; therefore, the number and frequency of detections of ECs are increasing. It is difficult for regulators to restrict use of pollutants that are a human health hazard; scientists to improve treatment techniques for higher priority pollutants; and the public to modify consumption patterns due to the vast number of ECs and the breadth of literature on the occurrence, use, and toxicity. Hence, this paper examines literature containing occurrence and toxicity data for three broad classes of trace pollutants and ECs (industrials, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs)), and assesses the relevance of 71 individual compounds. The evaluation indicates that widely used industrials (BPF) and PPCPs (AHTN, HHCB, ibuprofen, and estriol) occur frequently in samples from the freshwater environment but toxicity data were not available; thus, it is important to establish their ADI. Other widely used industrials (BDE-47, BDE-99) and pesticides (benomyl, carbendazim, aldrin, endrin, ethion, malathion, biphenthrin, and cypermethrin) have established ADI values but occurrence in the freshwater environment was not well documented. The highest priority pollutants for regulation and treatment should include industrials (PFOA, PFOS and DEHP), pesticides (diazinon, methoxychlor, and dieldrin), and PPCPs (EE2, carbamazepine, βE2, DEET, triclosan, acetaminophen, and E1) because they occur frequently in the freshwater environment and pose a human health hazard at environmental concentrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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