Publications by authors named "Luca Nizzetto"

62 Publications

A comprehensive assessment of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in an Indian food basket: Levels, dietary intakes, and comparison with European data.

Environ Pollut 2021 Jul 9;288:117750. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

RECETOX, Masaryk University, 62500, Brno, Czech Republic; Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalleen 21, 0349, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address:

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in diet are a health concern and their monitoring in food has been introduced in the European Union. In developing countries, EDC dietary exposure data are scarce, especially from areas perceived as pollution hotspots, including industrialized countries like India. Several persistent organic pollutants (POPs) act as EDCs and pose a pressure to human health mainly through dietary exposure. In the present study a range of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), dioxins and furans were measured in several food items collected in an Indian urban (Delhi) and a rural area (Dehradun). Food basket contamination data were used to estimate dietary exposure and compare it with that of the average European population estimated from available monitoring data. All targeted contaminants were found in most food items, especially in dairies and meat products. OCPs were the main contributors. Food supplied to Delhi's markets had higher contamination than that supplied to the peri-urban market in Dehradun. Despite looser control and restrictions, Indian dietary exposure of OCPs and PBDEs were comparable with that of Europe and were lower for PCBs and dioxins. Higher meat consumption in Europe only partly explained this pattern which was driven also by the higher residues in some European food items. A substantial part of endocrine disrupting potential in the diet derives from food and animal feeds internationally traded between developed and developing countries. With increasingly globalized food systems, internationally harmonized policies on EDC in food can lead to better protection of health in both these contexts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117750DOI Listing
July 2021

Spatio-temporal distribution of microplastics in a Mediterranean river catchment: The importance of wastewater as an environmental pathway.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Jun 25;420:126481. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

IMDEA Water Institute, Science and Technology Campus of the University of Alcalá, Av. Punto Com 2, 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.

Microplastics (MPs) are considered to be ubiquitous contaminants in freshwater ecosystems, yet their sources and pathways at the river catchment scale need to be better determined. This study assessed MP (55-5000 µm) pollution in a Mediterranean river catchment (central Spain) and aimed to identify the importance of wastewater as an environmental pathway. We sampled treated and untreated wastewaters, and raw and digested sludge from five WWTPs during two seasons. River water and sediments were sampled at three locations with different anthropogenic influences during three seasons. On average, 93% (47-99%) of MPs were retained by WWTPs. Concentrations in river water and sediment ranged between 1 and 227 MPs/m and 0-2630 MPs/kg dw, respectively. Concentrations strongly depended upon land-use, with pollution levels increasing significantly downstream of urban and industrial areas. Seasonality influenced the observed MP concentrations strongly. During high flow periods, higher water but lower sediment concentrations were observed compared to low flow periods. We estimate that 1 × 10 MPs are discharged into the catchment via treated and untreated wastewater annually, which constitutes up to 50% of the total MP catchment discharge. Thus, we conclude that the wastewater system represents a major environmental pathway for MPs into Mediterranean rivers with low dilution capacity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126481DOI Listing
June 2021

Exploring the impacts of microplastics and associated chemicals in the terrestrial environment - Exposure of soil invertebrates to tire particles.

Environ Res 2021 Jun 13;201:111495. Epub 2021 Jun 13.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecological Science, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Abrasion of tire wear is one of the largest sources of microplastics to the environment. Although most tire particles settle into soils, studies on their ecotoxicological impacts on the terrestrial environment are scarce. Here, the effects of tire particles (<180 μm) on three ecologically relevant soil invertebrate species, the enchytraeid worm Enchytraeus crypticus, the springtail Folsomia candida and the woodlouse Porcellio scaber, were studied. These species were exposed to tire particles spiked in soil or in food at concentrations of 0.02%, 0.06%, 0.17%, 0.5% and 1.5% (w/w). Tire particles contained a variety of potentially harmful substances. Zinc (21 900 mg kg) was the dominant trace element, whilst the highest concentrations of the measured organic compounds were detected for benzothiazole (89.2 mg kg), pyrene (4.85 mg kg), chlorpyrifos (0.351 mg kg), HCB (0.134 mg kg), methoxychlor (0.116 mg kg) and BDE 28 (0.100 mg kg). At the highest test concentration in soil (1.5%), the tire particles decreased F. candida reproduction by 38% and survival by 24%, and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity of P. scaber by 65%, whilst the slight decrease in the reproduction of E. crypticus was not dose-dependent. In food, the highest test concentration of tire particles reduced F. candida survival by 38%. These results suggest that micro-sized tire particles can affect soil invertebrates at concentrations found at roadsides, whilst short-term impacts at concentrations found further from the roadsides are unlikely.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111495DOI Listing
June 2021

Binding of waterborne pharmaceutical and personal care products to natural dissolved organic matter.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Aug 20;784:147208. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway; RECETOX, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic.

Information on how key environmental conditions such as natural dissolved organic matter (DOM) and water pH alter the possible risks posed by pharmaceuticals (PPCPs) is still scarce. In our previous study, the presence of natural DOM at high pH reduced the toxicity of a mix of waterborne PPCPs to algae. DOM-complexation and pH effect on speciation of the more hydrophobic and neutral compounds of the mix was suggested to be driving this behaviour. However, the study design did not allow the verification of this hypothesis. Here, the DOM- PPCPs interaction at different pH was investigated for 6 PPCPs through equilibrium dialysis, under the same conditions of DOM and pH as our previous study. Association with DOM was confirmed for the more hydrophobic PPCPs at high pH. The results suggest the binding was driven by i) the presence of carboxylic groups of PPCPs, ii) high pH shifting the structural configuration of DOM, making it more suited to bind some of the PPCPs. A non-linear change of binding capacity with increasing DOM concentration was also observed among the tested PPCPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147208DOI Listing
August 2021

Role of low-latitude forests in modulating forest filter effect on a continental scale: Long-term simulation on PCB-153 in Chinese forests.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jul 8;778:146285. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China.

Forests are important compartments influencing the environmental fate of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). To illustrate the effect of forests on the regional cycle of POPs, a level IV fugacity fate and transport model coupled with a detailed dynamic-forest module was applied to simulate the long-term variations of PCB-153 in China, where forest coverage accounts for approximately one fifth of land area. In the scenarios with forests, atmospheric outflow from China was 69% of that in the scenario without forests due to the enhanced storage in soil, degradation, and leaching. Previous studies regarded high-latitude areas, such as the polar region and boreal forests, as environments capable of reducing mobility of PCB-153, and they act as sinks of POPs. This modeling result suggests that tropical and subtropical forests may also play a similar role despite high temperatures favoring volatilization. Unlike boreal forest, the low-latitude forests may reduce the overall lifetime of PCB-153 in China due to enhanced degradation in warmer and moist soils of the tropical and subtropical area. Given that approximately half of the global forests are located in tropical and subtropical regions, they can be important environments influencing the global geochemical cycle and distribution of POPs, hence deserving more scientific attention by modeling and empirical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146285DOI Listing
July 2021

Transfer and transport of microplastics from biosolids to agricultural soils and the wider environment.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jul 1;724:138334. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadelléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.

Between April to November of 2017, microplastics (MPs) were analysed in biosolids from two separate suppliers, and in the soils of three agricultural fields to which they were applied, in Ontario, Canada. Soils of a control site with no history of biosolid application were also examined. High MP concentrations of between 8.7 × 10 MP kg and 1.4 × 10 MP kg were found in biosolids samples. Lower MP concentrations observed in Provider 2 biosolids may be due to storage, settling and supernatant removal prior to applications. Annual MP additions to agricultural soils across Ontario were estimated at between 4.1 × 10 and 1.3 × 10 particles. All fields receiving biosolids had higher soil pre-treatment MP concentrations than the control. The field with the greatest number of previous biosolid treatments had the highest pre-treatment soil MP concentrations; suggesting some MP retention in soils between applications. Immediately following biosolids applications, two fields demonstrated significant increases in soil MP concentrations, with preferential retention of MP fibers over fragments observed, while a reduction in soil MP concentrations were observed in the third. Surprisingly, only one field demonstrated a net gain in soil MPs over the course of the study. At all three fields, >99% of MPs applied in biosolids in 2017 were unaccounted for. The study suggests that despite adhering to applicable legislation, biosolids applications at all sites likely result in high rates of MP export. This study is the first to track MP transport through soils following their application in biosolids, and contributes to filling current knowledge gaps regarding export of MPs to aquatic systems from the terrestrial environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138334DOI Listing
July 2020

Water Browning Controls Adaptation and Associated Trade-Offs in Phytoplankton Stressed by Chemical Pollution.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 05 23;54(9):5569-5579. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Akvaplan-niva, CIENS, Science Park, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.

The acquisition of tolerance to an environmental stressor can result in organisms displaying slower growth after stress release. While well-grounded in the theory, empirical evidence of the trade-off between stress tolerance and organism fitness is scarce and blurred by the interaction with different environmental factors. Here, we report the effects of water browning on the responses, tolerance acquisition, and associated trade-offs in a population of microalgae exposed to sublethal concentrations of organic micropollutants over multiple generations. Our results show that dissolved organic matter (DOM) reduces toxic responses and modulates tolerance acquisition by the algae, possibly by complexing micropollutants. Microalgae that acquire tolerance allocate resources to fitness at the cost of reduced cell size. They yield higher productivity than nonadapted ones when grown in the presence of micropollutants but lower in their absence. The net trade-off was positive, indicating that adaptation can result in a higher productivity and fitness in tolerant species in recurrently stressed environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c00548DOI Listing
May 2020

Plastic sources: A survey across scientific and grey literature for their inventory and relative contribution to microplastics pollution in natural environments, with an emphasis on surface water.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Nov 22;693:133499. Epub 2019 Jul 22.

CNR - Water Research Institute, Largo Tonolli 50, 28922, Verbania, Italy.

Plastic debris are at present recognized as an emerging potential threat for natural environments, wildlife and humans. In the past years an increasing attention has been addressed to investigate the presence and concentration of plastic debris in the ecosystems, including surface waters. Scientific literature extensively describes the ingestion by aquatic fauna, the transfer into food webs and the potential action as a vector for toxic compounds or alien microorganisms. Although the scientific community addresses this issue with considerable effort, many questions remain open. In particular, new sources of microplastics have been recently recognized, possibly representing major environmental inputs compared to those previously considered. In addition to the already renowned sources such as the embrittlement of plastic litter and microbeads released from personal care products, microplastic can be released also by washing of synthetic clothes, abrasion of vehicles tyres and from the weathering of different kind of paints. This review tries to exhaustively enumerate all the possible sources of plastic litter that have been identified so far and to report quantitative assessments of their inputs on microplastics pollution to natural environments reported in scientific and grey literature, with an emphasis on surface waters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.305DOI Listing
November 2019

Resilience of Natural Phytoplankton Communities to Pulse Disturbances from Micropollutant Exposure and Vertical Mixing.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2019 10 18;38(10):2197-2208. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, CIENS, Science Park, Oslo, Norway.

Freshwaters are increasingly exposed to complex mixtures of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) from municipal wastewater, which are known to alter freshwater communities' structure and functioning. However, their interaction with other disturbances and whether their combined effects can impact ecological resilience (i.e., the ability of a system to tolerate disturbances without altering the system's original structure and processes) remain unexplored. Using in situ mesocosms in 2 lakes with different nutrient levels (mesotrophic and eutrophic), we assessed whether a pulse exposure to sublethal concentrations of 12 PPCPs affects the ecological resilience of natural phytoplankton communities that experienced an abrupt environmental change involving the destabilization of the water column through mixing. Such mixing events are predicted to increase as the effects of climate change unfold, leading to more frequent storms, which disrupt stratification in lakes and force communities to restructure. We assessed their combined effects on community metrics (biomass, species richness, and composition) and their relative resilience using 4 indicators (cross-scale, within-scale, aggregation length, and gap length), inferred from phytoplankton communities by discontinuity analysis. The mixing disturbance alone had negligible effects on the community metrics, but when combined with chemical contaminants significant changes were measured: reducing total biomass, species richness, and altered community composition of phytoplankton. Once these changes occurred, they persisted until the end of the experiment (day 20), when the communities' structures from the 2 highest exposure levels diverged from the controls. The resilience indicators were not affected by PPCPs but differed significantly between lakes, with lower resilience found in the eutrophic lake. Thus, PPCPs can significantly alter community structures and reinforce mechanisms that maintain ecosystems in a "degraded state." Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:2197-2208. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4536DOI Listing
October 2019

A single pulse of diffuse contaminants alters the size distribution of natural phytoplankton communities.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Sep 18;683:578-588. Epub 2019 May 18.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), CIENS, Science Park, Gaustadalleen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway; RECETOX, Masarik University, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic.

The presence of a multitude of bioactive organic pollutants collectively classified as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in freshwaters is of concern, considering that ecological assessments of their potential impacts on natural systems are still scarce. In this field experiment we tested whether a single pulse exposure to a mixture of 12 pharmaceuticals and personal care products, which are commonly found in European inland waters, can influence the size distributions of natural lake phytoplankton communities. Size is one of the most influential determinants of community structure and functioning, particularly in planktonic communities and food webs. Using an in-situ microcosm approach, phytoplankton communities in two lakes with different nutrient levels (mesotrophic and eutrophic) were exposed to a concentration gradient of the PPCPs mixture at five levels. We tested whether sub-lethal PPCPs doses affect the scaling of organisms' abundances with their size, and the slope of these size spectra, which describe changes in the abundances of small relative to large phytoplankton. Our results showed that a large proportion (approximately 80%) of the dataset followed a power-law distribution, thus suggesting evidence of scale invariance of abundances, as expected in steady state ecosystems. PPCPs were however found to induce significant changes in the size spectra and community structure of natural phytoplankton assemblages. The two highest treatment levels of PPCPs were associated with decreased abundance of the most dominant size class (nano-phytoplankton: 2-5 μm), leading to a flattening of the size spectra slope. These results suggest that a pulse exposure to PPCPs induce changes that potentially lead to unsteady ecosystem states and cascading effects in the aquatic food webs, by favoring larger non-edible algae at the expense of small edible species. We propose higher susceptibility due to higher surface to volume ratio in small species as the likely cause of these structural changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.05.229DOI Listing
September 2019

Baseline investigation on plasticizers, bisphenol A, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals in the surface soil of the informal electronic waste recycling workshops and nearby open dumpsites in Indian metropolitan cities.

Environ Pollut 2019 May 5;248:1036-1045. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349, Oslo, Norway; Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Kamenice 753/5, 625 00, Brno, Czech Republic.

Electronic waste (e-waste) has emerged as a global environmental problem because of its massive production volume and un-structured management policy. Since the rate of e-waste accumulation is startling and the combinatorial effects of toxicants are complex, we have investigated six phthalic acid esters (PAEs), bis (2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA)), bisphenol A (BPA), sixteen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and eight heavy metals (HMs) in the surface soil of e-waste recycling workshops and nearby open dumpsites in four metropolitan cities of India viz., New Delhi (north), Kolkata (east), Mumbai (west) and Chennai (south). Average concentration of ∑PAHs (1259 ng/g), ∑PAEs (396 ng/g), BPA (140 ng/g) and ∑HM (1288 mg/kg) in the informal e-waste recycling sites were higher than ∑PAHs (1029 ng/g), ∑PAEs (93 ng/g), BPA (121 ng/g) and ∑HM (675 mg/kg) in dumpsites. Almost 50-90% of BPA, bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), ∑PAHs and copper (Cu) were from e-waste sites predominantly from metal recovery sites (EWR). Extensive combustion of e-waste particularly in the EWR sites at New Moore market and Pudupet in Chennai and Wire Lane, Kurla of Mumbai can explain the segregation of diethyl phthalate (DEP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) and carcinogenic PAHs in the first principal component (PC-1). Copper and lead along with highly abundant plasticizers like DEHP, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and BPA were loaded in PC-2. Combined impact of burning the plastic cables in e-waste and acid leaching process especially at Mandoli in New Delhi might have driven this result. Loading of chrysene, DEHA and low molecular weight (LMW) PAHs mostly in dumpsite soil might have resulted from incomplete combustion of dumped e-waste. Copper was found to exhibit the highest pollution estimated by geo-accumulation index (Igeo). Maximum estimated carcinogenic risk for adults via dermal contact was due to copper, followed by chromium, lead and nickel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.11.010DOI Listing
May 2019

Assessing Air-Surface Exchange and Fate of Mercury in a Subtropical Forest Using a Novel Passive Exchange-Meter Device.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 05 24;53(9):4869-4879. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research , NO-0349 Oslo , Norway.

A novel passive exchange meter (EM) device was developed to assess air-surface exchange and leaching of Hg in a forest floor. Flux measurements were carried out in a subtropical forest ecosystem during a full year. Over 40% of the Hg fixed in fresh forest litter was remobilized in less than 60 days in warm and humid conditions as a response to rapid turnover of labile organic matter (OM). A two-block experiment including understory and clearing showed that losses of Hg covaried with seasonal conditions and was significantly affected by forest coverage. The process controlling the bulk loss of total Hg from the litter was volatilization, which typically represented 76-96% of the loss processes (F). The F ranges were 520-1370 and 165-942 ng m d in the understory and clearing, respectively. On a yearly basis, deposition of airborne Hg exceeded total losses by a factor of 2.5 in the clearing and 1.5 in the understory. The vegetation litter in this subtropical forest therefore represented a net sink of atmospheric Hg. This study provided a novel approach to Hg air-soil exchange measurements and further insights on the link between Hg remobilization and OM turnover along with its environmental drivers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b06343DOI Listing
May 2019

Modelling Environmental Impacts of Cesium-137 Under a Hypothetical Release of Radioactive Waste.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2019 Jul 1;103(1):69-74. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences NMBU, P.O. Box 5003, 1432, Ås, Norway.

Waste tanks at the nuclear facility located at Sellafield, UK, represent a nuclear source which could release radionuclides to the atmosphere. A model chain which combines atmospheric transport, deposition as well as riverine transport to sea has been developed to predict the riverine activity concentrations of Cs. The source term was estimated to be 9 × 10 TBq of Cs, or 1% of the assumed total Cs inventory of the HAL (Highly Active Liquid) storage tanks. Air dispersion modelling predicted Cs deposition reaching 127 kBq m at the Vikedal catchment in Western Norway. Thus, the riverine transport model predicted that the activity concentration of Cs in water at the river outlet could reach 9000 Bq m in the aqueous phase and 1000 Bq kg in solid phase at peak level. The lake and river reaches showed different transport patterns due to the buffering effects caused by dilution and slowing down of water velocity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00128-019-02601-5DOI Listing
July 2019

Spatial gradients of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in air, atmospheric deposition, and surface water of the Ganges River basin.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Jun 20;627:1495-1504. Epub 2018 Feb 20.

Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Masaryk University, Brno 62500, Czech Republic; Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalleen 21, Oslo 0349, Norway.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous semi-volatile organic pollutants. Their environmental occurrence is of global concern as some of them are carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens. In this study, concentrations and distributions of 16 priority PAHs (∑PAHs) were measured in air, atmospheric deposition, and surface water at various locations in Himalayan, Middle, and Lower Reaches of the Ganges River, covering a spatial transect of 2500km, during two seasons (pre-monsoon and monsoon). The concentration of ∑PAHs ranged between 2.2 and 182.2ngm in air, between 186 and 8810ngmday in atmospheric deposition, and between 0.05 and 65.9ngL in surface water. Air concentrations were strongly correlated with human population density. In the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Ganges River, atmospheric PAHs were mainly attributed to fossil fuel combustion sources. In the Himalayan Reach the influence of forest fire or biomass combustion was evident during the dry pre-monsoon season. Seasonality in concentrations of PAHs in river water was evident in the Himalayan Reach of the river, as a probable consequence of climate-modulated secondary source intensity (i.e. releases from glacier melting). Seasonality faded in the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Ganges where water contamination is expected to mainly reflect anthropogenic primary sources. Ambient air concentrations were used to calculate the probabilistic incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR). It was expectedly found to be higher in the Middle and Lower Reaches compared to the Himalayan Reach. The strong correlation between population density and air concentrations suggests population density may be used as a surrogate variable to assess human health risk in data-sparse regions such as the Ganges River basin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.262DOI Listing
June 2018

Can polyethylene passive samplers predict polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) uptake by earthworms and turnips in a biochar amended soil?

Sci Total Environ 2019 Apr 17;662:873-880. Epub 2019 Jan 17.

Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Department of Environmental Engineering, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address:

A pot experiment was carried out in which aged polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contaminated soil was amended with biochar, and three phases: earthworms, turnips and polyethylene (PE) passive samplers, were added simultaneously in order to investigate changes in bioavailability of PCB following biochar amendment. Two biochars were used: one made from rice husk in Indonesia using local techniques and the other made from mixed wood shavings using more advanced technology. The biochars were amended at 1 and 4% doses. The overall accumulation of PCBs to the phases followed the order: earthworm lipid > PE > turnip. The rice husk biochar reduced PCB accumulation to a greater degree than the mixed wood biochar for all phases, however there was no effect of dose for either biochar. Earthworm uptake was reduced between 52% and 91% for rice husk biochar and by 19% to 63% for mix wood biochar. Turnip uptake was not significantly reduced by biochar amendment. Phase to soil accumulation factors (PSAF) were around 0.5 for turnips, approximately 5 for PE and exceeded 100 for earthworms. This study demonstrates that both biochars can be a sustainable alternative for in situ soil remediation and that PE can be used as tool to simulate the uptake in earthworms and thus remediation effectiveness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.202DOI Listing
April 2019

Health and ecological risk assessment of emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and artificial sweeteners) in surface and groundwater (drinking water) in the Ganges River Basin, India.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jan 1;646:1459-1467. Epub 2018 Aug 1.

Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Masaryk University, Brno 62500, Czech Republic; Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalleen 21, Oslo 0349, Norway.

Pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PPCPs), and artificial sweeteners (ASWs) are contaminants of emerging concern commonly found in the aquatic environments. In India, studies reporting environmental occurrence of these contaminants are scarce. In this study, we investigated the occurrence and distribution of 15 PPCPs and five ASWs in the river and groundwater (used untreated as drinking water) at several sites along the Ganges River. Based on the measured groundwater concentrations, we estimated the life-long human health risk from exposure to PPCPs through drinking. In addition, we estimated the risk of exposure to PPCPs and ASWs in the river water for aquatic organisms. The sum of detected PPCPs in the river water ranged between 54.7-826 ng/L, with higher concentrations in the severely anthropogenically influenced middle and lower reaches of the Ganges. The highest concentration among the PPCPs in the river water was of caffeine (743 ng/L). The sum of detected ASWs in river water ranged between 0.2-102 ng/L. Similar to PPCPs, the sum of ASWs in the river water was higher in the middle and lower reaches of the Ganges. In groundwater, the sum of detected PPCPs ranged between 34-293 ng/L, whereas of ASWs ranged between 0.5-25 ng/L. Negligible risk for humans was estimated from PPCPs in the drinking groundwater sources along the Ganges River, whereas moderate risks to PPCPs and ASWs (namely: caffeine, sulfamethoxazole, triclocarban, triclosan, and sucralose) were estimated for aquatic organisms in the Ganges River.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.235DOI Listing
January 2019

Validation of a Method for Extracting Microplastics from Complex, Organic-Rich, Environmental Matrices.

Environ Sci Technol 2018 07 18;52(13):7409-7417. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) , Gaustadelléen 21 , 0349 Oslo , Norway.

Complex and organic-rich solid substrates such as sludge and soil have been shown to be contaminated by microplastics; however, methods for extracting plastic particles have not yet been systemically tested or standardized. This study investigated four main protocols for the removal of organic material during analysis of microplastics from complex solid matrices: oxidation using HO, Fenton's reagent, and alkaline digestion with NaOH and KOH. Eight common polymer types were used to assess the influence of reagent exposure on particle integrity. Organic matter removal efficiencies were established for test sludge and soil samples. Fenton's reagent was identified as the optimum protocol. All other methods showed signs of particle degradation or resulted in an insufficient reduction in organic matter content. A further validation procedure revealed high microplastic extraction efficiencies for particles with different morphologies. This confirmed the suitability of Fenton's reagent for use in conjunction with density separation for extracting microplastics. This approach affords greater comparability with existing studies that utilize a density-based technique. Recommendations for further method optimization were also identified to improve the recovery of microplastic from complex, organic-rich environmental samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b01517DOI Listing
July 2018

Estimation of p,p'-DDT degradation in soil by modeling and constraining hydrological and biogeochemical controls.

Environ Pollut 2018 Aug 11;239:179-188. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753/5, Brno, 62500, Czech Republic; Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, NO-0349, Norway. Electronic address:

Despite not being used for decades in most countries, DDT remains ubiquitous in soils due to its persistence and intense past usage. Because of this it is still a pollutant of high global concern. Assessing long term dissipation of DDT from this reservoir is fundamental to understand future environmental and human exposure. Despite a large research effort, key properties controlling fate in soil (in particular, the degradation half-life (τ)) are far from being fully quantified. This paper describes a case study in a large central European catchment where hundreds of measurements of p,p'-DDT concentrations in air, soil, river water and sediment are available for the last two decades. The goal was to deliver an integrated estimation of τ by constraining a state-of-the-art hydrobiogeochemical-multimedia fate model of the catchment against the full body of empirical data available for this area. The INCA-Contaminants model was used for this scope. Good predictive performance against an (external) dataset of water and sediment concentrations was achieved with partitioning properties taken from the literature and τ estimates obtained from forcing the model against empirical historical data of p,p'-DDT in the catchment multicompartments. This approach allowed estimation of p,p'-DDT degradation in soil after taking adequate consideration of losses due to runoff and volatilization. Estimated τ ranged over 3000-3800 days. Degradation was the most important loss process, accounting on a yearly basis for more than 90% of the total dissipation. The total dissipation flux from the catchment soils was one order of magnitude higher than the total current atmospheric input estimated from atmospheric concentrations, suggesting that the bulk of p,p'-DDT currently being remobilized or lost is essentially that accumulated over two decades ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.04.022DOI Listing
August 2018

Retention performance of three widely used SPE sorbents for the extraction of perfluoroalkyl substances from seawater.

Chemosphere 2018 Feb 7;193:259-269. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

RECETOX - Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic; NIVA - Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.

Some per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been detected ubiquitously in the environment. Owing to the polar character conferred by the presence of the carboxylic or sulfonic acid groups and their resistance to degradation, aquatic environments became their major reservoirs, including marine waters. The procedure of PFAS analysis in aqueous matrices consists usually of solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Moreover, passive sampling approach using various SPE sorbents may be applied. This study deals with the assessment of retention characteristics of a selected group of PFASs in marine water on three sorbent media widely used in SPE or passive sampling techniques. The influence of type of sorbent, matrix pH, salinity and eluent on the PFAS recovery from aquatic samples was investigated. The best overall extraction conditions were found to be at pH 8 and 50%/100% matrix seawater content using Oasis HLB/Strata™-X as SPE sorbents and methanol as eluent. The matrix properties found to be the most appropriate for extraction of investigated PFASs from aqueous samples (i.e., pH and salinity levels) match well the natural properties of marine and brackish waters. Acid-base behavior was found to be the main driver influencing the recovery of PFASs. These research findings can be used to optimize PFAS extraction conditions from aquatic samples and also to develop efficient extraction procedures for multiresidual analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.10.174DOI Listing
February 2018

Contaminants of emerging concern in the open sea waters of the Western Mediterranean.

Environ Pollut 2017 Oct 3;229:976-983. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

RECETOX - Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic; NIVA - Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.

Pollution by chemical substances is of concern for the maintenance of healthy and sustainable aquatic environments. While the occurrence and fate of numerous emerging contaminants, especially pharmaceuticals, is well documented in freshwater, their occurrence and behavior in coastal and marine waters is much less studied and understood. This study investigates the occurrence of 58 chemicals in the open surface water of the Western Mediterranean Sea for the first time. 70 samples in total were collected in 10 different sampling areas. 3 pesticides, 11 pharmaceuticals and personal care products and 2 artificial sweeteners were detected at sub-ng to ng/L levels. Among them, the herbicide terbuthylazine, the pharmaceuticals caffeine, carbamazepine, naproxen and paracetamol, the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole, the antibacterial triclocarban and the two artificial sweeteners acesulfame and saccharin were detected in all samples. The compound detected at the highest concentration was saccharin (up to 5.23 ng/L). Generally small spatial differences among individual sampling areas point to a diffuse character of sources which are likely dominated by WWTP effluents and runoffs from agricultural areas or even, at least for pharmaceuticals and artificial food additives, from offshore sources such as ferries and cruising ships. The implications of the ubiquitous presence in the open sea of chemicals that are bio-active or toxic at low doses on photosynthetic organisms and/or bacteria (i.e., terbuthylazine, sulfamethoxazole or triclocarban) deserve scientific attention, especially concerning possible subtle impacts from chronic exposure of pelagic microorganisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.07.082DOI Listing
October 2017

Water-borne pharmaceuticals reduce phenotypic diversity and response capacity of natural phytoplankton communities.

PLoS One 2017 22;12(3):e0174207. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

NIVA: Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway.

Chemical micropollutants occur worldwide in the environment at low concentrations and in complex mixtures, and how they affect the ecology of natural systems is still uncertain. Dynamics of natural communities are driven by the interaction between individual organisms and their growth environment, which is mediated by the organisms' expressed phenotypic traits. We tested whether exposure to a mixture of 12 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) influences phenotypic trait diversity in lake phytoplankton communities and their ability to regulate biomass production to fit environmental changes (response capacity). We exposed natural phytoplankton assemblages to three mixture levels in permeable microcosms maintained at three depths in a eutrophic lake for one week, during which the environmental conditions were fluctuating. We studied individual-level traits, phenotypic diversity and community biomass. PPCP reduced individual-level trait variance and overall community phenotypic diversity, but maintained higher standing phytoplankton biomass compared to untreated controls. Estimated effect sizes of PPCP on traits and community properties were very large (partial Eta-squared > 0.15). The PPCP mixture antagonistically interacted with the natural environmental gradient in habitats offered by different depths and, at concentrations comparable to those in waste-water effluents, prevented communities from converging to the same phenotypic structure and total biomass of unexposed controls. We show that micropollutants can alter individual-level trait diversity of lake phytoplankton communities and therefore their capacity to respond to natural environmental gradients, potentially affecting aquatic ecosystem processes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174207PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362198PMC
August 2017

Are Agricultural Soils Dumps for Microplastics of Urban Origin?

Environ Sci Technol 2016 10 29;50(20):10777-10779. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, NO-0349, Oslo, Norway.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b04140DOI Listing
October 2016

Pollution: Do microplastics spill on to farm soils?

Nature 2016 09;537(7621):488

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/537488bDOI Listing
September 2016

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the Western Mediterranean Sea waters.

Chemosphere 2016 Sep 14;159:308-316. Epub 2016 Jun 14.

RECETOX - Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk University, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic; NIVA - Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.

The spatial and temporal distribution of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the open Western Mediterranean Sea waters was investigated in this study for the first time. In addition to surface water samples, a deep water sample (1390 m depth) collected in the center of the western basin was analyzed. Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) were detected in all samples and were the dominant PFASs found. The sum of PFAS concentrations (ΣPFASs) ranged 246-515 pg/L for surface water samples. PFASs in surface water had a relatively homogeneous distribution with levels similar to those previously measured in the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, in water masses feeding the inflow to the Mediterranean Sea. Higher concentrations of PFHxA, PFHpA and PFHxS were, however, found in the present study. Inflowing Atlantic water and river/coastal discharges are likely the major sources of PFASs to the Western Mediterranean basin. Slightly lower (factor of 2) ΣPFASs was found in the deep water sample (141 pg/L). Such a relatively high contamination of deep water is likely to be linked to recurring deep water renewal fed by downwelling events in the Gulf of Lion and/or Ligurian Sea.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.06.015DOI Listing
September 2016

A theoretical assessment of microplastic transport in river catchments and their retention by soils and river sediments.

Environ Sci Process Impacts 2016 Aug;18(8):1050-9

School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.

The presence of microplastics (MPs) in the environment is a problem of growing concern. While research has focused on MP occurrence and impacts in the marine environment, very little is known about their release on land, storage in soils and sediments and transport by run-off and rivers. This study describes a first theoretical assessment of these processes. A mathematical model of catchment hydrology, soil erosion and sediment budgets was upgraded to enable description of MP fate. The Thames River in the UK was used as a case study. A general lack of data on MP emissions to soils and rivers and the mass of MPs in agricultural soils, limits the present work to serve as a purely theoretical, nevertheless rigorous, assessment that can be used to guide future monitoring and impact evaluations. The fundamental assumption on which modelling is based is that the same physical controls on soil erosion and natural sediment transport (for which model calibration and validation are possible), also control MP transport and storage. Depending on sub-catchment soil characteristics and precipitation patterns, approximately 16-38% of the heavier-than-water MPs hypothetically added to soils (e.g. through routine applications of sewage sludge) are predicted to be stored locally. In the stream, MPs < 0.2 mm are generally not retained, regardless of their density. Larger MPs with densities marginally higher than water can instead be retained in the sediment. It is, however, anticipated that high flow periods can remobilize this pool. Sediments of river sections experiencing low stream power are likely hotspots for deposition of MPs. Exposure and impact assessments should prioritize these environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c6em00206dDOI Listing
August 2016

The influence of tree species composition on the storage and mobility of semivolatile organic compounds in forest soils.

Sci Total Environ 2016 May 22;553:532-540. Epub 2016 Mar 22.

RECETOX (Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment), Kamenice 753/5, CZ-625 00 Brno, Czech Republic; Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadalleen 21, NO-0349 Oslo, Norway.

Soil contamination with PCBs and PAHs in adjacent forest plots, characterized by a distinct composition in tree species (spruce only, mixed and beech only), was analyzed to investigate the influence of ecosystem type on contaminant mobility in soil under very similar climate and exposure conditions. Physical-chemical properties and contaminant concentrations in litter (L), organic (F, H) and mineral (A, B) soil horizons were analyzed. Contaminant distribution in the soil core varied both in relation to forest type and contaminant group/properties. Contaminant mobility in soil was assessed by examining the ratios of total organic carbon (TOC)-standardized concentrations across soil horizons (Enrichment factors, EFTOC) and the relationship between EFTOC and the octanol-water equilibrium partitioning coefficient (KOW). Contaminant distribution appeared to be highly unsteady, with pedogenic/biogeochemical drivers controlling contaminant mobility in organic layers and leaching controlling accumulation in mineral layers. Lighter PCBs displayed higher mobility in all forest types primarily controlled by leaching and, to a minor extent, diffusion. Pedogenic processes controlling the formation of soil horizons were found to be crucial drivers of PAHs and heavier PCBs distribution. All contaminants appeared to be more mobile in the soil of the broadleaved plot, followed by mixed canopy and spruce forest. Increasing proportion of deciduous broadleaf species in the forest can thus lead to faster degradation or the faster leaching of PAHs and PCBs. The composition of humic substances was found to be a better descriptor of contaminant concentration than TOC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.02.132DOI Listing
May 2016

Assessment of contaminant fate in catchments using a novel integrated hydrobiogeochemical-multimedia fate model.

Sci Total Environ 2016 Feb 8;544:553-63. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, NO-0349, Oslo, Norway.

Models for pollution exposure assessment typically adopt an overly simplistic representation of geography, climate and biogeochemical processes. This strategy is unsatisfactory when high temporal resolution simulations for sub-regional spatial domains are performed, in which parameters defining scenarios can vary interdependently in space and time. This is, for example, the case when assessing the influence of biogeochemical processing on contaminant fate. Here we present INCA-Contaminants, the Integrated Catchments model for Contaminants; a new model that simultaneously and realistically solves mass balances of water, carbon, sediments and contaminants in the soil-stream-sediment system of catchments and their river networks as a function of climate, land use/management and contaminant properties. When forced with realistic climate and contaminant input data, the model was able to predict polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) concentrations in multiple segments of a river network in a complex landscape. We analyzed model output sensitivity to a number of hydro-biogeochemical parameters. The rate of soil organic matter mineralization was the most sensitive parameter controlling PCBs levels in river water, supporting the hypothesis that organic matter turnover rates will influence re-mobilization of previously deposited PCBs which had accumulated in soil organic matrix. The model was also used to project the long term fate of PCB 101 under two climate scenarios. Catchment diffuse run-off and riverine transport were the major pathways of contaminant re-mobilization. Simulations show that during the next decade the investigated boreal catchment will shift from being a net atmospheric PCB sink to a net source for air and water, with future climate perturbation having little influence on this trend. Our results highlight the importance of using credible hydro-biogeochemical simulations when modeling the fate of hydrophobic contaminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.11.087DOI Listing
February 2016

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in river and ground/drinking water of the Ganges River basin: Emissions and implications for human exposure.

Environ Pollut 2016 Jan;208(Pt B):704-13

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalléen 21, Oslo 0349, Norway; Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment (RECETOX), Masaryk University, Brno 62500, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

Many perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants. They have been widely used in production processes and daily-use products or may result from degradation of precursor compounds in products or the environment. India, with its developing industrialization and population moving from traditional to contemporary lifestyles, represents an interesting case study to investigate PFAS emission and exposure along steep environmental and socioeconomic gradients. This study assesses PFAS concentrations in river and groundwater (used in this region as drinking water) from several locations along the Ganges River and estimates direct emissions, specifically for PFOS and PFOA. 15 PFAS were frequently detected in the river with the highest concentrations observed for PFHxA (0.4-4.7 ng L(-1)) and PFBS (
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2015.10.050DOI Listing
January 2016

DDTs and HCHs in sediment cores from the coastal East China Sea.

Sci Total Environ 2016 Jan 12;539:388-394. Epub 2015 Sep 12.

State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China.

Four sediment cores were collected along the Yangtze-derived sediment transport pathway in the inner shelf of the East China Sea (ECS) for OCP analysis. The sediment records of HCHs and DDTs in estuarine environment reflected remobilization of chemicals from enhanced soil erosion associated to extreme flood events or large scale land use transformation. The sediment records in the open sea, instead, reflected long-term historical trends of OCP application in the source region. Unlike the so-called mud wedge distribution of sediment, inventories of HCHs and DDTs slightly increased from the mouth of Yangtze River alongshore toward south, suggesting the sediment deposition rate was one of factors on the exposure of chemicals within the inner shelf of the ECS. Re-suspension and transport of the Yangtze-derived sediment and consequent fractionation in grain size and TOC were also responsible for the spatial variation of inventories of catchment derived OCPs in a major repository area of the Yangtze suspended sediment. The total burdens of HCHs and DDTs in the inner shelf of the ECS were 35tons and 110tons, respectively. After 1983 (year of the official ban in China), those values were 13tons and 50tons, respectively. It appears that the Yangtze still delivers relatively high inputs of DDTs more than 30years after the official ban. High proportions of DDD+DDE and β-HCH suggested those OCPs mainly originated from historical usage in the catchment recent years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.010DOI Listing
January 2016

Melting Himalayan glaciers contaminated by legacy atmospheric depositions are important sources of PCBs and high-molecular-weight PAHs for the Ganges floodplain during dry periods.

Environ Pollut 2015 Nov 24;206:588-96. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalleen 21, Oslo, 0349, Norway.

Melting glaciers are natural redistributors of legacy airborne pollutants, affecting exposure of pristine proglacial environments. Our data shows that melting Himalayan glaciers can be major contributors of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and high-molecular-weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) for surface water in the Gangetic Plain during the dry season. Glacial emissions can exceed in some cases inputs from diffuse sources within the catchment. We analyzed air, deposition and river water in several sections along the Ganges River and its major headwaters. The predominant glacial origin of these contaminants in the Himalayan reach was demonstrated using air-water fugacity ratios and mass balance analysis. The proportion of meltwater emissions compared to pollutant discharge at downstream sections in the central part of the Gangetic Plain was between 2 and 200%. By remobilizing legacy pollutants from melting glaciers, climate change can enhance exposure levels over large and already heavily impacted regions of Northern India.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2015.08.012DOI Listing
November 2015
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