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Detection and Occurrence of N-Nitrosamines in Archived Biosolids from the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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      Abstract

      The occurrence of eight carcinogenic N-nitrosamines in biosolids from 74 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the contiguous United States was investigated. Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, seven nitrosamines [( N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), N-nitrosomethylethylamine, N-nitrosodi- n-propylamine (NDPA), N-nitrosodibutylamine, N-nitrosopyrrolidine, N-nitrosopiperidine (NPIP), and N-nitrosodiphenylamine (NDPhA)] were detected with varying detection frequency (DF) in 88% of the biosolids samples ( n = 80), with five of the seven being reported here for the first time in biosolids. While rarely detected (DF 3%), NDMA was the most abundant compound at an average concentration of 504 ± 417 ng/g dry weight of biosolids. The most frequently detected nitrosamine was NDPhA (0.7—147 ng/g) with a DF of 79%, followed by NDPA (7–505 ng/g) and NPIP (51–1185 ng/g) at 21% and 11%, respectively. The DF of nitrosamines in biosolids was positively correlated with their respective n-octanol–water partition coefficients ( R 2 = 0.65). The DF and sum of mean concentrations of nitrosamines in biosolids increased with the treatment capacity of WWTPs. Given their frequent occurrence in nationally representative samples and the amount of U.S. biosolids being applied on land as soil amendment, this study warrants more research into the occurrence and fate of nitrosamines in biosolids-amended soils in the context of crop and drinking water safety.

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      Most cited references 27

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      Formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) from dimethylamine during chlorination.

       D Sedlak,  W Mitch (2002)
      Chlorine disinfection of secondary wastewater effluent and drinking water can result in the production of the potent carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at concentrations of approximately 100 and 10 parts per trillion (ng/L), respectively. Laboratory experiments with potential NDMA precursors indicate that NDMA formation can form during the chlorination of dimethylamine and other secondary amines. The formation of NDMA during chlorination may involve the slow formation of 1,1-dimethylhydrazine by the reaction of monochloramine and dimethylamine followed by its rapid oxidation to NDMA and other products including dimethylcyanamide and dimethylformamide. Other pathways also lead to NDMA formation during chlorination such as the reaction of sodium hypochlorite with dimethylamine. However, the rate of NDMA formation is approximately an order of magnitude slower than that observed when monochloramine reacts with dimethylamine. The reaction exhibits a strong pH dependence due to competing reactions. It may be possible to reduce NDMA formation during chlorination by removing ammonia prior to chlorination, by breakpoint chlorination, or by avoidance of the use of monochloramine for drinking water disinfection.
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        National inventory of alkylphenol ethoxylate compounds in U.S. sewage sludges and chemical fate in outdoor soil mesocosms.

        We determined the first nationwide inventories of alkylphenol surfactants in U.S. sewage sludges (SS) using samples from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2001 national SS survey. Additionally, analysis of archived 3-year outdoor mesocosm samples served to determine chemical fates in SS-amended soil. Nonylphenol (NP) was the most abundant analyte (534 ± 192 mg/kg) in SS composites, followed by its mono- and di-ethoxylates (62.1 ± 28 and 59.5 ± 52 mg/kg, respectively). The mean annual load of NP and its ethoxylates in SS was estimated at 2408-7149 metric tonnes, of which 1204-4289 is applied on U.S. land. NP compounds showed observable loss from SS/soil mixtures (1:2), with mean half-lives ranging from 301 to 495 days. Surfactant levels in U.S. SS ten-times in excess of European regulations, substantial releases to U.S. soils, and prolonged half-lives found under field conditions, all argue for the U.S. to follow Europe's move from 20 years ago to regulate these chemicals. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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          Detecting N-nitrosamines in drinking water at nanogram per liter levels using ammonia positive chemical ionization.

          Detection of N-nitrosamines in water supplies is an environmental and public health issue because many N-nitrosamines are classified as probable human carcinogens. Some analytical methods are inadequate for detecting N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low ng/L concentrations in water due to poor extraction efficiencies and nonselective and nondistinctive GC/MS electron ionization techniques. Development of a selective, sensitive, and affordable benchtop analytical method for eight N-nitrosamines, at relevant drinking water concentrations was the primary objective of this project. A solid-phase extraction method using Ambersorb 572 and LiChrolut EN was developed in conjunction with GC/MS ammonia positive chemical ionization (PCI). Ammonia PCI shows excellent sensitivity and selectivity for N-nitrosamines, which were quantified using both isotope dilution/surrogate standard and internal standard procedures. Method detection limits for all investigated N-nitrosamines ranged from 0.4 to 1.6 ng/L. Applying our extraction method to authentic drinking water samples with dissolved organic carbon concentrations of 9 mg/L, we were able to detect N-nitrosodimethylamine (2-180 ng/L) as well as N-nitrosopyrrolidine (2-4 ng/L) and N-nitrosomorpholine (1 ng/L), two N-nitrosamines that have not been reported in drinking water to date. With high recoveries of standards and analytes, the described internal standard method offers a valuable new approach for investigating several N-nitroso compounds at ultratrace levels in drinking water.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Center for Environmental Security, The Biodesign Institute, Security and Defense Systems Initiative, Arizona State University , 781 E. Terrace Rd., Tempe, Arizona 85287, United States
            Author notes
            [* ]E-mail: halden@ 123456asu.edu . Phone: +1 (480) 727-0893. Fax: +1 (480) 965-6603.
            Journal
            Environ Sci Technol
            Environ. Sci. Technol
            es
            esthag
            Environmental Science & Technology
            American Chemical Society
            0013-936X
            1520-5851
            03 April 2015
            03 April 2014
            06 May 2014
            : 48
            : 9
            : 5085-5092
            24697330
            4018098
            10.1021/es5001352
            Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society
            Funding
            National Institutes of Health, United States
            Categories
            Article
            Custom metadata
            es5001352
            es-2014-001352

            General environmental science

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