DOI: 10.3390/jox14010003 ISSN: 2039-4713

An Initial Survey on Occurrence, Fate, and Environmental Risk Assessment of Organophosphate Flame Retardants in Romanian Waterways

Iuliana Paun, Florinela Pirvu, Vasile Ion Iancu, Marcela Niculescu, Luoana Florentina Pascu, Florentina Laura Chiriac
  • Pollution
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology

Organophosphate ester flame retardants (OPFRs) are ubiquitous organic pollutants in the environment and present an important preoccupation due to their potential toxicity to humans and biota. They can be found in various sources, including consumer products, building materials, transportation industry, electronic devices, textiles and clothing, and recycling and waste management. This paper presents the first survey of its kind in Romania, investigating the composition, distribution, possible sources, and environmental risks of OPFRs in five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and the rivers receiving their effluents. Samples from WWTPs and surface waters were collected and subjected to extraction processes to determine the OPFRs using liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection. All the target OPFRs were found in all the matrices, with the average concentrations ranging from 0.6 to 1422 ng/L in wastewater, 0.88 to 1851 ng/g dry weight (d.w.) in sewage sludge, and 0.73 to 1036 ng/L in surface waters. The dominant compound in all the cases was tri(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP). This study observed that the wastewater treatment process was inefficient, with removal efficiencies below 50% for all five WWTPs. The environmental risk assessment indicated that almost all the targeted OPFRs pose a low risk, while TDCPP, TCPP, and TMPP could pose a moderate risk to certain aquatic species. These findings provide valuable information for international pollution research and enable the development of pollution control strategies.

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