Surveillance of plasticizers, bisphenol A, steroids and caffeine in surface water of River Ganga and Sundarban wetland along the Bay of Bengal: occurrence, sources, estrogenicity screening and ecotoxicological risk assessment

Paromita Chakraborty, Nancy W. Shappell, Moitraiyee Mukhopadhyay, Sathaporn Onanong, K. Ronnie Rex, Daniel Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The transboundary River Ganga serves as a conduit for meltwater from the Himalayas and is a major freshwater source for two thirds of Indian population before emptying into the Sundarban Delta, the largest estuary in the Bay of Bengal. Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) such as phthalic acid esters (PAEs) and bisphenol A (BPA) used as organic plastic additives can pollute the aquatic environment receiving plastic litter. Hence, we have investigated these EDCs in water samples from Ganga and Sundarban wetland of India. Since these compounds exhibit estrogenic potential, we have further measured steroids and evaluated the estrogenic activity (estradiol equivalents, BioE2Eqs) using an in-vitro bioassay (E-Screen). Further BioE2Eqs were compared with the sum of predicted estradiol equivalents based on the chemical concentrations of PAEs and BPA by E-Screen (ChemE2Eq) and YES factors (ChemYES). Caffeine was measured as a marker for anthropogenic wastewater discharge. Results showed that the highest BioE2Eq (below the lowest observable effect of E2 on fish) was associated with sites having sewer outfalls in the middle stretch of the river, and concomitantly coinciding with the elevated concentrations of caffeine. Neither ChemE2Eq nor ChemYES correlated with measured BioE2Eqs. River concentrations of BPA (0.04–4.46 µg/L) and ∑7plasticizers (0.43–7.63 µg/L) were higher than BPA (0.21–2.82 µg/L) and ∑7plasticizers (0.85–2 µg/L) in the Sundarban wetland. The only steroids detected were androgens, found at four sites in Ganga (0.007 µg/L± 0.003, mean ± S.D.). The highest estimated ecotoxicological risk to aquatic insect and fish stemmed from BPA. A secondary effect, and a potential impact on human health could be reflected via fish consumption from the productive fisheries region along the lower stretch of River Ganga. Identification of areas of elevated estrogenicity, plasticizer and steroid concentrations in River Ganga can be used to design and implement interventions for the remediation of such emerging contaminants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116668
JournalWater Research
Volume190
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Caffeine
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals
  • Estrogenic activity
  • Ganga
  • Sundarban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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