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Predicting risks from down-the-drain chemicals in a developing country: Mexico and linear alkylbenzene sulfonate as a case study

Quinn, Shannon E.; Dyer, Scott D.; Fan, Ming; Keller, Virginie D.J.; Johnson, Andrew C.; Williams, Richard J.. 2018 Predicting risks from down-the-drain chemicals in a developing country: Mexico and linear alkylbenzene sulfonate as a case study. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 37 (9). 2475-2486. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.4181

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Abstract/Summary

It is recognized that the amount of natural dilution available can make a significant difference in the exposure and risk assessment of chemicals that emanate from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, data availability is a common limiting factor in exposure assessments for emerging markets. In the present study, we used a novel approach to derive dilution factors for the receiving waters within 5 km of wastewater discharge points in Mexico by combining locally measured river volumes, ecoregion categorization, data on WWTP capacity, and global river network models. Distributions of wastewater effluent into receiving stream dilution factors were developed for the entire country and organized by ecoregion type to explore spatial differences. The distribution of dilution factors in Mexico ranged from >1000 in tropical and temperate ecoregions to 1 in desert ecoregions. To demonstrate its utility, dilution factors were used to develop a probabilistic model to explore the potential ecological risks of the high‐volume surfactant linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), commonly used in down‐the‐drain cleaning products. The predicted LAS river exposure values were below the predicted no‐effect concentration in all regions. The methodology developed for Mexico can be used to derive refined exposure assessments in other countries with emerging markets throughout the world, resulting in more realistic risk assessments.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.4181
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0730-7268
Additional Keywords: environmental modeling, geographic information systems, municipal effluents, personal care products, risk assessment
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 25 Jul 2018 13:02 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/520597

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