Bronopol, Resorcinol, m-Cresol and Triclosan in the Nordic Environment

Publication Year2007
PublisherNordic Council of Ministers
Publication IdentifierTemaNord 2007:585

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The study shows, amongst other things, that despite decreased usage within industry, triclosan is still detected in the environment. Triclosan, which is used in toothpaste, cosmetics and textiles, was found, for example, in environmental samples of sludge from sewage treatment plants. 

The aim of this Nordic screening study was to investigate the occurrence of bronopol, resorcinol, m-cresol and triclosan in the Nordic environment. The compounds selected for this study are widely used chemicals e.g. in consumer products with adverse effects to the environment. Bronopol, resor-cinol and triclosan are highly toxic some aquatic organisms. As a result of their wide use, these com-pounds are easily spread into the environment both via point sources and via diffuse sources.

In this study were Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden involved. Sampled media types were air, biota, sediment, sludge, soil and water.

Despite a significant consumption of bronopol the compound could not be detected in any of the samples. Resorcinol was frequently found in municipal influent water and sludge samples but also in effluent water and environmental samples of water and sediment from recipients close to sewage treatment plants, landfills and industry. Triclosan was found in high concentrations in sludge from sewage treatment plants and also frequently detected in effluent water of the same plants and in re-cipient sediment. Triclosan was the only studied compound found in biota. m-cresol was found in several influent samples of municipal sewage treatment plants and in some landfill leachates but also in effluent water and environmental samples in vicinity of an industrial pulp and paper treat-ment plant.