Health risk assessment of phthalate esters (PAEs) in drinking water sources of China

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Journal Article

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Phthalate esters, Health risk assessment, Carcinogenic risk, Non-carcinogenic risk, Drinking water




Phthalate esters (PAEs) with endocrine disruption effects and carcinogenicity are widely detected in water environment. Occurrences of PAEs in source water and removal efficiencies of PAEs by drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) in China were surveyed from publications in the last 10 years. Concentration of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) in source water with median value of 1.3 μg/L was higher than that of dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), and di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP). If the removal efficiencies of DEHP and DnBP reached 60 and 90 %, respectively, the calculated PAE concentration in drinking water can generally meet Standards for Drinking Water Quality in China. The health risks of PAEs, including non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks via the “water source-DWTP-oral ingestion/dermal permeation” pathway, were evaluated with Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analysis under certain removal efficiencies from 0 to 95 %. The carcinogenic risk of DEHP was lower than the upper acceptable carcinogenic risk level (10 −4 ), while the probability of DEHP’s carcinogenic risk between lower (10 −6 ) and upper (10 −4 ) acceptable carcinogenic risk level decreased from about 21.2 to 0.4 % through increasing DEHP removal efficiency from 0 to 95 %. The non-carcinogenic risk of DEHP was higher than that of DEP and DnBP. In all cases, the total non-carcinogenic risk of DEP, DnBP, and DEHP was lower than 1, indicating that there would be unlikely incremental non-carcinogenic risk to humans. Both carcinogenic risk and non-carcinogenic risk of PAEs in drinking water to female were a little higher than those to male.

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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

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