Occurrence and ecological risk assessment of emerging organic chemicals in urban rivers: Guangzhou as a case study in China

Feng Jiao Peng, Chang Gui Pan, Min Zhang, Nai Sheng Zhang, Ronja Windfeld, Daniel Salvito, Henriette Selck, Paul J. Van den Brink*, Guang Guo Ying

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


Urban rivers may receive contamination from various sources including point sources like domestic sewage and nonpoint sources (e.g., runoff), resulting in contamination with various chemicals. This study investigated the occurrence of emerging organic contaminants (3 endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), and 17 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs)) in six urban rivers of a representative subtropical city, Guangzhou (southern China). Our results showed that EDCs and personal care products were frequently detected in the water phase and sediment phase. 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) was the most predominant compound with the highest concentration of 5050 ng/L in the water phase and 14,400 ng/g dry weight (dw) in the sediment. Generally, higher total concentrations of EDCs and PPCPs were detected in the four urban streams compared to the main stream Zhujiang River and the Liuxi River at the suburb area. A screening-level risk assessment showed that 4-nonylphenol and triclosan (TCS) pose potential risks to aquatic organisms in most sampling sites. For individual taxa, 4-NP may pose risks to various groups of aquatic organisms, while TCS only might pose high risks to algae. Capsule Higher contamination of EDCs and PPCPs was observed in rivers in urban area; 4-nonylphenol and triclosan showed RQs > 1 in > 70% of the reported area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs)
  • Occurrence
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs)
  • Urban rivers


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