Assessment of organophosphate flame retardants in surface water and sediment from a freshwater environment (Yangtze River, China)

  • Daoping Zha
  • Ying LiEmail author
  • Cunman Yang
  • Chi Yao


Organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) have been detected in the surface water, suspended sediments, and river sediments from the Yangtze River in China. A modified polar organic chemical integrative sampler (m-POCIS) was successfully used to quantify the OPFR concentrations in surface water. The OPFR concentrations estimated by the field m-POCIS at six sampling locations ranged from 8.99 to 112.45 ng/L with an average concentration of 47.04 ng/L. The OPFR concentrations in suspended sediments were related to the sediment particle size distribution. Chlorinated and alkyl OPFRs were the principle compounds in sediments, especially tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP) with concentrations of 3.37–29.65 ng/g. The relationship between the OPFR concentrations and total organic carbon (TOC) contents in sediments was examined. The results suggested that the OPFR concentrations were significantly correlated with the TOC contents. The primary OPFR transport mechanism in a freshwater environment occurs in surface water rather than sediment. This was evaluated by the logKow and field sediment-water partition coefficient (logKoc) values between the sediment and water. Finally, the various distributions and transport of OPFRs at the sampling sites indicated that human activities, agricultural production, and wastewater effluents from sewage plants have an important effect on the OPFR levels in a freshwater environment.


POCIS OPFRs Surface water Sediment Transport 



The presented study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51479067), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2017B13514), and the Project Founded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Supplementary material

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes, Ministry of Education; College of EnvironmentHoHai UniversityNanjingChina

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