Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anti-Bacterial Additive Found in Maryland Streams

19.08.2004


A toxic chemical used in hand soaps, cleaners and other personal care products to kill germs is deposited and remains in the environment long after the products are used, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The chemical—3,4,4’-trichlorocarbanilide (triclocarban), marketed under the trademark TCC™—is a non-agricultural polychlorinated phenyl urea pesticide that has been widely used for decades to kill bacteria. The researchers were among the first to detect concentrations of triclocarban in rivers and influent of wastewater treatment facilities. In some instances, they detected concentrations of triclocarban in waterways at levels 20-fold higher than previously reported. The study furnishes the first peer-reviewed environmental data of triclocarban contamination in U.S. water resources. It is published in the online edition of Environmental Science & Technology.



“Our study shows that environmental contamination with triclocarban is widespread but greatly underreported because conventional monitoring techniques cannot detect it,” said the study’s lead author Rolf U. Halden, PhD, PE, assistant professor of the School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and founding member of its Center for Water and Health. “We had to specifically develop a new method, termed liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC/ESI/MS), to detect triclocarban in water. Using this new method, we found the disinfectant in all Maryland streams we examined. Now the big question is what are the ecological and human health consequences of triclocarban in the environment? From the chemical structure, one would expect the compound to concentrate in fish and bio-accumulate in the food chain, but at this point we can only speculate,” said Dr. Halden. He added that more research is needed to determine whether the environmental contamination discovered translates into human exposure and any corresponding long-term risks.

Prior to Dr. Halden’s research, the most recent data on the fate of triclocarban in wastewater were from 1975, and no peer-reviewed studies were conducted on the occurrence of the chemical in U.S. water resources. Dr. Halden and his summer research intern, Daniel H. Paull, now a graduate student in the Chemistry department at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed water samples taken from rivers in and around Baltimore, Md., as well as from local water filtration and wastewater treatment plants.


In these samples, the researchers detected triclocarban in river water at concentrations of up to 5.6 micrograms per liter (parts-per-billion) and in wastewater at 6.75 ppb. The highest detected concentrations in surface waters of the Greater Baltimore area were 20 fold higher than previously reported levels, which are currently used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for evaluation of the ecological and human health risks of triclocarban. The antimicrobial was not detected in any samples of residential well water and municipal drinking water.

“It’s somewhat unsettling that we’ve been using this persistent disinfectant for almost half a century at rates approaching 1 million pounds per year and still have essentially no idea of what exactly happens to the compound after we flush it down the drain. Further studies are needed to determine the effect of triclocarban on aquatic life and potential pathways of unwanted human exposure,” said Dr. Halden.

“Analysis of Triclocarban in Aquatic Samples by Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry” was written by Rolf U. Halden and Daniel H. Paull.

The research was supported by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences through the Johns Hopkins Center in Urban and Environmental Health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Faculty Innovation Award and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Kenna Lowe | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhsph.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>