Matching Items (7)

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Wastewater Treatment Plants as Chemical Observatories to Forecast Ecological and Human Health Risks of Manmade Chemicals

Description

Thousands of chemicals have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), but prioritizing them concerning ecological and human health risks is challenging. We explored the use of sewage treatment

Thousands of chemicals have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), but prioritizing them concerning ecological and human health risks is challenging. We explored the use of sewage treatment plants as chemical observatories to conveniently identify persistent and bioaccumulative CECs, including toxic organohalides. Nationally representative samples of sewage sludge (biosolids) were analyzed for 231 CECs, of which 123 were detected. Ten of the top 11 most abundant CECs in biosolids were found to be high-production volume chemicals, eight of which representing priority chemicals, including three flame retardants, three surfactants and two antimicrobials. A comparison of chemicals detected in nationally representative biological specimens from humans and municipal biosolids revealed 70% overlap. This observed co-occurrence of contaminants in both matrices suggests that the analysis of sewage sludge can inform human health risk assessments by providing current information on toxic exposures in human populations and associated body burdens of harmful environmental pollutants.

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  • 2014-01-16

United States National Sewage Sludge Repository at Arizona State University-a new resource and research tool for environmental scientists, engineers, and epidemiologists

Description

Processed municipal sewage sludges (MSS) are an abundant, unwanted by-product of wastewater treatment, increasingly applied to agriculture and forestry for inexpensive disposal and soil conditioning. Due to their high organic

Processed municipal sewage sludges (MSS) are an abundant, unwanted by-product of wastewater treatment, increasingly applied to agriculture and forestry for inexpensive disposal and soil conditioning. Due to their high organic carbon and lipid contents, MSS not only is rich in carbon and nutrients but also represents a “sink” for recalcitrant, hydrophobic, and potentially bioaccumulative compounds. Indeed, many organics sequestered and concentrated in MSS meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of being persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). In a strategic effort, our research team at the Biodesign Institute has created the National Sewage Sludge Repository (NSSR), a large repository of digested MSSs from 164 wastewater treatment plants from across the USA, as part of the Human Health Observatory (H2O) at Arizona State University (ASU). The NSSR likely represents the largest archive of digested MSS specimens in the USA. The present study summarizes key findings gleaned thus far from analysis of NSSR samples. For example, we evaluated the content of toxicants in MSS and computed estimates of nationwide inventories of mass produced chemicals that become sequestrated in sludge and later are released into the environment during sludge disposal on land. Ongoing efforts document co-occurrence of a variety of PBT compounds in both MSS and human samples, while also identifying a large number of potentially harmful MSS constituents for which human exposure data are still lacking. Finally, we summarize future opportunities and invite collaborative use of the NSSR by the research community. The H2O at ASU represents a new resource and research tool for environmental scientists and the larger research community. As illustrated in this work, this repository can serve to (i) identify and prioritize emerging contaminants, (ii) provide spatial and temporal trends of contaminants, (iii) inform and evaluate the effectiveness of environmental policy-making and regulations, and (iv) approximate, ongoing exposures and body burdens of mass-produced chemicals in human society.

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  • 2015-02-01

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Effective Strategies for Monitoring and Regulating Chemical Mixtures and Contaminants Sharing Pathways of Toxicity

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Traditionally, hazardous chemicals have been regulated in the U.S. on a one-by-one basis, an approach that is slow, expensive and can be inefficient, as illustrated by a decades-long succession of

Traditionally, hazardous chemicals have been regulated in the U.S. on a one-by-one basis, an approach that is slow, expensive and can be inefficient, as illustrated by a decades-long succession of replacing one type of organohalogen flame retardants (OHFRs) with another one, without addressing the root cause of toxicity and associated public health threats posed. The present article expounds on the need for efficient monitoring strategies and pragmatic steps in reducing environmental pollution and adverse human health impacts. A promising approach is to combine specific bioassays with state-of-the-art chemical screening to identify chemicals and chemical mixtures sharing specific modes of action (MOAs) and pathways of toxicity (PoTs). This approach could be used to identify and regulate hazardous chemicals as classes or compound families, featuring similar biological end-points, such as endocrine disruption and mutagenicity. Opportunities and potential obstacles of implementing this approach are discussed.

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  • 2015-08-28

Does the Recent Growth of Aquaculture Create Antibiotic Resistance Threats Different from those Associated with Land Animal Production in Agriculture?

Description

Important antibiotics in human medicine have been used for many decades in animal agriculture for growth promotion and disease treatment. Several publications have linked antibiotic resistance development and spread with

Important antibiotics in human medicine have been used for many decades in animal agriculture for growth promotion and disease treatment. Several publications have linked antibiotic resistance development and spread with animal production. Aquaculture, the newest and fastest growing food production sector, may promote similar or new resistance mechanisms. This review of 650+ papers from diverse sources examines parallels and differences between land-based agriculture of swine, beef, and poultry and aquaculture. Among three key findings was, first, that of 51 antibiotics commonly used in aquaculture and agriculture, 39 (or 76%) are also of importance in human medicine; furthermore, six classes of antibiotics commonly used in both agriculture and aquaculture are also included on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of critically important/highly important/important antimicrobials. Second, various zoonotic pathogens isolated from meat and seafood were observed to feature resistance to multiple antibiotics on the WHO list, irrespective of their origin in either agriculture or aquaculture. Third, the data show that resistant bacteria isolated from both aquaculture and agriculture share the same resistance mechanisms, indicating that aquaculture is contributing to the same resistance issues established by terrestrial agriculture. More transparency in data collection and reporting is needed so the risks and benefits of antibiotic usage can be adequately assessed.

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  • 2015-05-01

Contribution of Polybrominated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans (PBDD/Fs) to the Toxic Equivalency of Dioxin-like Compounds in Archived Biosolids from the US EPA's 2001 National Sewage Sludge Survey

Description

The World Health Organization recently proposed the inclusion of brominated congeners in addition to chlorinated congeners when computing the toxic equivalency (TEQ) of dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) in assessments of human

The World Health Organization recently proposed the inclusion of brominated congeners in addition to chlorinated congeners when computing the toxic equivalency (TEQ) of dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) in assessments of human health risks. In the present study, 12 polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PBDD/Fs) were analyzed by gas chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry in the composited, archived biosolids that were collected in 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia from 94 wastewater treatment plants by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in its 2001 national sewage sludge survey. Two PBDDs and five PBDFs were detected in the biosolids composites at varying frequencies (40–100%) with a total mean concentration of 10,000 ng/kg dry weight (range: 630–42,800), of which 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-hepta-BDF constituted about 95% by mass. Relative to commercial polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) formulations, the ratio of PBDD/Fs to PBDEs in biosolids was 55-times higher (∼0.002% vs ∼0.11%), which indicates potential PBDE transformation or possibly additional sources of PBDD/Fs in the environment. The TEQ contribution of PBDD/Fs was estimated at 162 ng/kg 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) (range: 15–672), which is equivalent to 75% (range: 12–96%) of the total TEQ in biosolids. The TEQ of DLCs released annually to U.S. soils as a result of the land application of biosolids was estimated at 720 g (range: 530–1600 g). Among all known DLCs determined in biosolids, brominated analogs contributed 370% more TEQ than did chlorinated congeners, which indicates the need to include brominated DLCs in the exposure and risk assessment of land-applied biosolids.

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  • 2014-09-16

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National inventory of perfluoroalkyl substances in archived US biosolids from the 2001 EPA National Sewage Sludge Survey

Description

Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, we determined the first nationwide inventories of 13 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in U.S. biosolids via analysis of samples collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection

Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, we determined the first nationwide inventories of 13 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in U.S. biosolids via analysis of samples collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 2001 National Sewage Sludge Survey. Perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS; 403 +/- 127 ng/g dry weight (dw)] was the most abundant PFAS detected in biosolids composites representing 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, followed by perfluorooctanoate [PFOA; 34 +/- 22 ng/g dw] and perfluorodecanoate [PFDA; 26 +/- 20 ng/g dw]. Mean concentrations in U.S. biosolids of the remaining ten PFASs ranged between 2 and 21 ng/g dw. Interestingly, concentrations of PFOS determined here in biosolids collected prior to the phase-out period (2002) were similar to levels reported in the literature for recent years. The mean load of Sigma PFASs in U.S. biosolids was estimated at 2749-3450 kg/year, of which about 1375-2070 kg is applied on agricultural land and 467-587 kg goes to landfills as an alternative disposal route. This study informs the risk assessment of PFASs by furnishing national inventories of PFASs occurrence and environmental release via biosolids application on land.

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  • 2013-09-05

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Contaminants of emerging concern in U.S. sewage sludges and forecasting of associated ecological and human health risks using sewage epidemiology approaches

Description

Many manmade chemicals used in consumer products are ultimately washed down the drain and are collected in municipal sewers. Efficient chemical monitoring at wastewater treatment (WWT) plants thus may provide

Many manmade chemicals used in consumer products are ultimately washed down the drain and are collected in municipal sewers. Efficient chemical monitoring at wastewater treatment (WWT) plants thus may provide up-to-date information on chemical usage rates for epidemiological assessments. The objective of the present study was to extrapolate this concept, termed 'sewage epidemiology', to include municipal sewage sludge (MSS) in identifying and prioritizing contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). To test this the following specific aims were defined: i) to screen and identify CECs in nationally representative samples of MSS and to provide nationwide inventories of CECs in U.S. MSS; ii) to investigate the fate and persistence in MSS-amended soils, of sludge-borne hydrophobic CECs; and iii) to develop an analytical tool relying on contaminant levels in MSS as an indicator for identifying and prioritizing hydrophobic CECs. Chemicals that are primarily discharged to the sewage systems (alkylphenol surfactants) and widespread persistent organohalogen pollutants (perfluorochemicals and brominated flame retardants) were analyzed in nationally representative MSS samples. A meta-analysis showed that CECs contribute about 0.04-0.15% to the total dry mass of MSS, a mass equivalent of 2,700-7,900 metric tonnes of chemicals annually. An analysis of archived mesocoms from a sludge weathering study showed that 64 CECs persisted in MSS/soil mixtures over the course of the experiment, with half-lives ranging between 224 and >990 days; these results suggest an inherent persistence of CECs that accumulate in MSS. A comparison of the spectrum of chemicals (n=52) analyzed in nationally representative biological specimens from humans and MSS revealed 70% overlap. This observed co-occurrence of contaminants in both matrices suggests that MSS may serve as an indicator for ongoing human exposures and body burdens of pollutants in humans. In conclusion, I posit that this novel approach in sewage epidemiology may serve to pre-screen and prioritize the several thousands of known or suspected CECs to identify those that are most prone to pose a risk to human health and the environment.

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  • 2013