An assessment of the fate, behaviour and environmental risk associated with sunscreen TiO2 nanoparticles in UK field scenarios

Johnson, Andrew C.; Bowes, Michael J.; Crossley, Alison; Jarvie, Helen P.; Jurkschat, Kerstin; Juergens, Monika D.; Lawlor, Alan J.; Park, Barry; Rowland, Philip; Spurgeon, David; Svendsen, Claus; Thompson, Ian P.; Barnes, Robert J.; Williams, Richard J.; Xu, Nan. 2011 An assessment of the fate, behaviour and environmental risk associated with sunscreen TiO2 nanoparticles in UK field scenarios. Science of the Total Environment, 409 (13). 2503-2517.

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The fate of Ti was examined in an activated sludge plant serving over 200,000 people. These studies revealed a decrease of 30 to 3.2 µg/L of Ti<0.45 µm from influent to effluent and a calculated Ti presence of 305 mg/kg DW in wasted sludge. Thus, using sludge as a fertiliser would result in a predicted deposition of up to 250 mg/m2 of Ti to soil surfaces using a recommended maximal agricultural application rate. Given the major use of TiO2 in many industrial and domestic applications where loss to the sewer is possible, this measured Ti was presumed to have been largely TiO2, a proportion of which will be nanoparticle sized. To assess the behaviour of engineered nanoparticle (ENP) TiO2 in sewage and toxicology studies, Optisol (Oxonica Materials Ltd) and P25 (Evonik Industries AG), which are representative of forms used in sunscreen and cosmetic products, were used. These revealed a close association of TiO2 ENPs with activated sludge. Using commercial information on consumption, and removal rates for sewage treatment, predictions were made for river water concentrations for sunscreen TiO2 ENPs for the Anglian and Thames regions in Southern England. The highest predicted value from these exercises was 8.8 µg/L for the Thames region in which it was assumed one in four people used the recommended application of sunscreen during a low flow (Q95) period. Ecotoxicological studies using potentially vulnerable species indicated that 1,000 µg/L TiO2 ENP did not affect the viability of a mixed community of river bacteria in the presence of UV light. Direct exposure to TiO2 ENPs did not impair the immuno-effectiveness of earthworm coelomocyte cells at concentrations greatly above those predicted for sewage sludge.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.1 - Identify and quantify sources, fluxes and pathways of water, chemicals ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 2 - Biogeochemistry and Climate System Processes > BGC - 2.1 - Quantify & model processes that control the emission, fate and bioavailability of pollutants
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 1 - Monitoring and Interpretation of Biogeochemical and Climate Changes > BGC - 1.1 - Monitor concentrations, fluxes, physico-chemical forms of current and emerging pollutants ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: TiO2 nanoparticle, sunscreen, sewage, exposure, prediction, river water, ecotoxicity, earthworms
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 25 May 2011 14:03 +0 (UTC)

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