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Identification of potentially mobile and persistent transformation products of REACH-registered chemicals and their occurrence in surface waters.

Water research (2018-12-06)
D Zahn, P Mucha, V Zilles, A Touffet, H Gallard, T P Knepper, T Frömel
ABSTRACT

Transformation of industrial chemicals might be a significant source of hitherto unknown persistent and mobile organic contaminants (PMOC, PM chemicals) present in the aquatic environment. Herein we depicted a three-step strategy consisting of (I) the prioritization of potential PMOC precursors among REACH-registered chemicals, (II) their lab scale transformation through hydrolysis, photolysis, MnO2 oxidation, and biotransformation and subsequent structural elucidation of derived transformation products, and finally (III) the assessment of their environmental relevance. The proposed procedure was utilized to investigate eleven chemicals, for nine of which a concentration reduction was observed. For six of these chemicals transformation products were at least tentatively identified and partially confirmed with a commercially available reference standard. Retrospective assessment of high-performance liquid chromatography - high-resolution mass spectrometry data as well as a target screening method for the identified TPs and some of the prioritized REACH chemicals revealed the widespread presence of the following chemicals in the environment: 2-pyrrolidone (hydrolysis product of vinylpyrrolidone), TP 216 (4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-acetic acid, biotransformation product of 4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-ethanol), and 1,3-diphenylguanidine (prioritized chemical with experimental evidence of environmental stability). 2-Pyrrolidone was detected in 23/25 investigated surface water samples and present in concentrations of up to 400 ng/L. TP 216 was detected in 20/25 surface water samples and an additional sampling of a waste water treatment plant and the receiving surface water confirmed that TP 216 is formed in waste water treatment plants. The vulcanisation agent 1,3-diphenylguanidine was present in all investigated samples. A leaching experiment with a tire suggested that tires and thus tire wear particles are a potential source of 1,3-diphenylguanidine. With these data the depicted approach was proven successful and suitable for true unknowns like TP 216, and thus an alternative to non-target screenings or suspect-screenings with predicted TPs to identify environmentally relevant transformation products.