The antimicrobial agents triclosan (TCS), triclocarban (TCC) and their associated transformation products are of increasing concern as environmental pollutants due to their potential adverse effects on humans and wildlife, including bioaccumulation and endocrine-disrupting activity. Analysis by tandem mass spectrometry of 24 paired freshwater bed sediment samples (top 10 cm) collected by the U.S. Geological Survey near 12 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Minnesota revealed TCS and TCC concentrations of up to 85 and 822 ng/g dry weight (dw), respectively. Concentrations of TCS and TCC in bed sediments collected downstream of WWTPs were significantly greater than upstream concentrations in 58% and 42% of the sites, respectively. Dichloro- and non-chlorinated carbanilides (DCC and NCC) were detected in sediments collected at all sites at concentrations of up to 160 and 1.1 ng/g dw, respectively. Overall, antimicrobial concentrations were significantly higher in lakes than in rivers and creeks, with relative abundances decreasing from TCC > TCS > DCC > NCC. This is the first statewide report on the occurrence of TCS, TCC and TCC transformation products in freshwater sediments. Moreover, the results suggest biological or chemical TCC dechlorination products to be ubiquitous in freshwater environments of Minnesota, but whether this transformation occurs in the WWTP or bed sediment remains to be determined.
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Occurrence of triclosan, triclocarban, and its lesser chlorinated congeners in Minnesota freshwater sediments collected near wastewater treatment plants