WATER QUALITY

More contaminants entering waterways

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Science  03 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6230, pp. 88-89
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6230.88-b

Modern wastewater treatment processes still leave behind trace amounts of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other potentially harmful or toxic compounds. For example, over 10 metric tons of the antimicrobial compound triclosan are released from wastewater treatment plants into U.S. waterways each year. Hensley et al. detected trace contaminants in the effluent from four U.S. wastewater treatment plants, including triclosan, chlorinated triclosan derivatives, and hydroxylated by-products of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)—recalcitrant compounds used as flame retardants. Chlorinated triclosan derivatives were present at the same low but appreciable levels as PBDE by-products, both of which produce toxic dioxins during photodegradation.

Environ. Sci. Water Res. Technol. 10.1039/c4ew00102h (2015).

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