Screening of 1300 organic micro-pollutants in groundwater from Beijing and Tianjin, North China

Groundwater contamination in China has become a growing public concern because of the country’s rapid economic development and dramatically increasing fresh water demand. However, there is little information available on groundwater quality, particularly with respect to trace organic micro-pollutants contamination. This study was undertaken to investigate the occurrence of 1300 pollutants at 27 groundwater sites in Beijing and Tianjin, North China. Seventy-eight chemicals (6% of the targeted compounds) were detected in at least one sampling point; observed chemicals included polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, plasticisers, antioxidants, pharmaceuticals and other emerging compounds. Chemicals with a frequency of detection over 70% were 2-ethyl-1-hexanol (median concentration 152 ng L(-1)), benzyl alcohol (582 ng L(-1)), 2-phenoxy-ethanol (129 ng L(-1)), acetophenone (74 ng L(-1)), pentamethylbenzene (51 ng L(-1)), nitrobenzene (40 ng L(-1)) and dimethyl phthalate (64 ng L(-1)). Pesticides with concentrations exceeding the EU maximum residual limits (MRL) of 0.1 ?g L(-1) were 1,4-dichlorobenzene, oxadixyl, diflubenzuron, carbendazim, diuron, and the E and Z isomers of dimethomorph. Naphthalene and its 7 alkylated derivatives were widely observed at maximum concentration up to 30 ?g L(-1), which, although high, is still below the Australian drinking water guidelines of 70 ?g L(-1). The risk assessment indicated there is no human health risk through the oral consumption from most wells, although there were four wells in which total seven compounds were found at the concentrations with a potential adverse health effects. This work provides a wide reconnaissance on broad spectrum of organic micro-contaminants in groundwater in North China.

Authors: Kong L, Kadokami K, Duong HT, Chau HT. ;Full Source: Chemosphere. 2016 Sep 19; 165:221-230. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.08.084. [Epub ahead of print] ;