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The occurrence of UV filters in natural and drinking water in São Paulo State (Brazil)


Ultraviolet (UV) filters are widely used in the formulation of personal care products (PCPs) to prevent damage to the skin, lips, and hair caused by excessive UV radiation. Therefore, large amounts of these substances are released daily into the aquatic environment through either recreational activities or the release of domestic sewage. The concern regarding the presence of such substances in the environment and the exposure of aquatic organisms is based on their potential for bioaccumulation and their potential as endocrine disruptors. Although there are several reports regarding the occurrence and fate of UV filters in the aquatic environment, these compounds are still overlooked in tropical areas. In this study, we investigated the occurrence of the organic UV filters benzophenone-3 (BP-3), ethylhexyl salicylate (ES), ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC), and octocrylene (OC) in six water treatment plants in various cities in Southeast Brazil over a period of 6 months to 1 year. All of the UV filters studied were detected at some time during the sampling period; however, only EHMC and BP-3 were found in quantifiable concentrations, ranging from 55 to 101 and 18 to 115 ng L−1, respectively. Seasonal variation of BP-3 was most clearly noticed in the water treatment plant in Araraquara, São Paulo, where sampling was performed for 12 months. BP-3 was not quantifiable in winter but was quantifiable in summer. The levels of BP-3 were in the same range in raw, treated and chlorinated water, indicating that the compound was not removed by the water treatment process.

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The authors are grateful for doctoral student fellowships from CAPES (Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) and CNPq (Brazilian National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development) for C. P. da Silva and E. S. Emídio, respectively. Research support was provided by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Education Support. In addition, the authors are grateful to the Alizete dos Santos for the construction of the maps.

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Correspondence to Mary Rosa Rodrigues de Marchi.

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Responsible editor: Ester Heath

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da Silva, C.P., Emídio, E.S. & de Marchi, M.R.R. The occurrence of UV filters in natural and drinking water in São Paulo State (Brazil). Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 19706–19715 (2015).

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