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Performance of passive samplers for monitoring estuarine water column concentrations: 2. Emerging contaminants


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Measuring dissolved concentrations of emerging contaminants, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and triclosan, can be challenging due to their physicochemical properties resulting in low aqueous solubilities and association with particles. Passive sampling methods have been applied to assess dissolved concentrations in water and sediments primarily for legacy contaminants. Although the technology is applicable to some emerging contaminants, the use of passive samplers with emerging contaminants is limited. In the present study, the performance of 3 common passive samplers was evaluated for sampling PBDEs and triclosan. Passive sampling polymers included low-density polyethylene (PE) and polyoxymethylene (POM) sheets, and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-coated solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers. Dissolved concentrations were calculated using measured sampler concentrations and laboratory-derived partition coefficients. Dissolved tri-, tetra-, and pentabrominated PBDE congeners were detected at several of the study sites at very low pg/L concentrations using PE and POM. Calculated dissolved water concentrations of triclosan ranged from 1.7 ng/L to 18 ng/L for POM and 8.8 ng/L to 13 ng/L for PE using performance reference compound equilibrium adjustments. Concentrations in SPME were not reported due to lack of detectable chemical in the PDMS polymer deployed. Although both PE and POM were found to effectively accumulate emerging contaminants from the water column, further research is needed to determine their utility as passive sampling devices for emerging contaminants. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:2190–2196. © 2013 SETAC