Occurrence and toxicity of halobenzoquinones as drinking water disinfection byproducts


Halobenzoquinones (HBQs) are emerging unregulated drinking water disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that are more toxic than regulated DBPs. This study aimed to determine the distribution and formation of HBQs in drinking water from water treatment plants in China, compare their chronic cytotoxicity and their induction of chromosomal damage in Chinese hamster ovary cells, and analyze the correlation of HBQ toxicity with their physicochemical parameters. Two HBQs, 2,6-dichloro-1,4-benzoquinone (2,6-DCBQ) and 2,6-dibromo-1,4-benzoquinone (2,6-DBBQ), were detected in finished water and tap water in China. The concentrations were in the ranges of <2.6-19.70 ng/L for 2,6-DCBQ and <0.38-1.8 ng/L for 2,6-DBBQ. Chemical oxygen demand and residual chlorine were positively correlated with HBQ formation. The HBQ concentration was lower in a drinking water treatment plant using chlorine dioxide. High Ca2+ in tap water decreased the HBQ level. The rank order of HBQ by cytotoxicity was 2-chloro-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,3-diiodo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,6-diiodo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,6-dibromo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,5-dibromo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,5-dichloro-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,6-dichloro-1,4-benzoquinone > tetrachloro-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,3,6-trichloro-1,4-benzoquinone, and for their genotoxicity, 2,5-dichloro-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,6-dichloro-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,3-diiodo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,6-diiodo-1,4-benzoquinone > tetrachloro-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,5-dibromo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,6-dibromo-1,4-benzoquinone > 2,3,6-trichloro-1,4-benzoquinone. The cytotoxicity of six dihalo-HBQs was negatively correlated with the octanol-water partition coefficient (r = -0.971, P < 0.05), molar refractivity (r = -0.956, P < 0.05), energy of the highest occupied molecular orbital (EHOMO) (r = -0.943, P < 0.05), and polar surface area (r = -0.829, P < 0.05). The genotoxicity of these three pairs of dihalo-HBQ isomers followed the same order as their EHOMO values. This study reveals the occurrence and formation of HBQs in drinking water in China and systematically evaluates the chromosomal damage caused by nine HBQs in mammalian cells.

Authors: Huan Wu, Kunling Long, Yujie Sha, Du Lu, Ying Xia, Yan Mo, Qiyuan Yang, Weiwei Zheng, Mengting Yang, Xiao Wei
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2021 Jan 21;770:145277. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145277.