Risk assessment based prioritization of 200 organic micropollutants in 4 Iberian rivers

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The use of chemicals is continuously growing both in total amount as well as in a number of different substances, among which organic chemicals play a major role. Owing to the growing public awareness on the need of protecting both ecosystems and human health from the risks related to chemical pollution, an increasing attention has been drowned to risk assessment and prioritization of organic pollutants. In this context, the aims of this study were (a) to perform an environmental risk assessment for 200 organic micropollutants including both regulated and emerging contaminants (pesticides, alkylphenols, pharmaceuticals, hormones, personal care products, perflourinated compounds and various industrial organic chemicals) monitored in four rivers located in the Mediterranean side of the Iberian Peninsula, namely, the Ebro, Llobregat, Júcar and Guadalquivir rivers; and (b) to prioritize them for each of the four river basins studied, taking into account their observed concentration levels together with their ecotoxicological potential. For this purpose, a prioritization approach has been developed and a resulting ranking index (RI) associated with each compound. Ranking index is based on the measured concentrations of the chemical in each river and its ecotoxicological potential (EC50 values for algae, Daphnia sp. and fish). Ten compounds were identified as most important for the studied rivers: pesticides chlorpyriphos, chlorfenvinphos, diazinon, dichlofenthion, prochloraz, ethion carbofuran and diuron and the industrial organic chemicals nonylphenol and octylphenol that result from the biodegration of polyethoxylated alkyphenol surfactants. Also, further research into chronic toxicity of emerging contaminants is advocated ​
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