Wastewater analysis of Census day samples to investigate per capita input of organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizers into wastewater

J.W. O'Brien, P.K. Thai, S.H. Brandsma, P.E.G. Leonards, C. Ort, J.F. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The use of organophosphate esters (PFRs) as flame retardants and plasticizers has increased due to the ban of some brominated flame retardants. There is however some concern regarding the toxicity, particularly carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity, of some of the PFRs. In this study we applied wastewater analysis to assess use of PFRs by the Australian population. Influent samples were collected from eleven wastewater treatment plants (STPs) in Australia on Census day and analysed for PFRs using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Per capita mass loads of PFRs were calculated using the accurate Census head counts. The results indicate that tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP) has the highest per capita input into wastewater followed by tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP), tris(isobutyl) phosphate (TIBP), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) and tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCIPP). Similar PFR profiles were observed across the Australian STPs and a comparison with European and U.S. STPs indicated similar PFR concentrations. We estimate that approximately 2.1mgperson-1day-1 of PFRs are input into Australian wastewater which equates to 16tonnes per annum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-334
JournalChemosphere
Volume138
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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