Personal care products and steroid hormones in the Antarctic coastal environment associated with two Antarctic research stations, McMurdo Station and Scott Base

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Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are a major source of micropollutants to the aquatic environment. Despite intense research on the fate and effects of PPCPs in temperate climates, there is a paucity of data on their presence in polar environments. This study reports the presence of selected PPCPs in sewage effluents from two Antarctic research stations, the adjacent coastal seawater, sea ice, and biota. Sewage effluents contained bisphenol-A, ethinylestradiol, estrone, methyl triclosan, octylphenol, triclosan, and three UV-filters. The maximum sewage effluent concentrations of 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor, benzophenone-1, estrone, ethinylestradiol, and octylphenol exceeded concentrations previously reported. Coastal seawaters contained bisphenol-A, octylphenol, triclosan, three paraben preservatives, and four UV-filters. The sea ice contained a similar range and concentration of PPCPs as the seawater. Benzophenone-3 (preferential accumulation in clams), estradiol, ethinylestradiol, methyl paraben (preferential accumulation in fish, with concentrations correlating negatively with fillet size), octylphenol, and propyl paraben were detected in biota samples. PPCPs were detected in seawater and biota at distances up to 25 km from the research stations WWTP discharges. Sewage effluent discharges and disposal of raw human waste through sea ice cracks have been identified as sources of PPCPs to Antarctic coastal environments.

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