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See detailEvaluation of reverse osmosis drinking water treatment of riverbank filtrate using bioanalytical tools and non-target screening
Albergamo, Vittorio; Escher, Beate I.; Schymanski, Emma UL et al

in Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology (2020), 6(1), 103--116

Stand-alone reverse osmosis (RO) has been proposed to produce high-quality drinking water from raw riverbank filtrate impacted by anthropogenic activities. To evaluate RO efficacy in removing organic ... [more ▼]

Stand-alone reverse osmosis (RO) has been proposed to produce high-quality drinking water from raw riverbank filtrate impacted by anthropogenic activities. To evaluate RO efficacy in removing organic micropollutants, biological analyses were combined with non-target screening using high-resolution mass spectrometry and open cheminformatics tools. The bank filtrate induced xenobiotic metabolism mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor AhR, adaptive stress response mediated by the transcription factor Nrf2 and genotoxicity in the Ames-fluctuation test. These effects were absent in the RO permeate (product water), indicating the removal of bioactive micropollutants by RO membranes. In the water samples, 49 potentially toxic compounds were tentatively identified with the in silico fragmentation tool MetFrag using the US Environmental Protection Agency CompTox Chemicals Dashboard database. 5 compounds were confirmed with reference standards and 16 were tentatively identified with high confidence based on similarities to accurate mass spectra in open libraries. The bioactivity data of the confirmed chemicals indicated that 2,6-dichlorobenzamide and bentazone in water samples can contribute to the activation of AhR and oxidative stress response, respectively. The bioactivity data of 7 compounds tentatively identified with high confidence indicated that these structures can contribute to the induction of such effects. This study showed that riverbank filtration followed by RO could produce drinking water free of the investigated toxic effects. [less ▲]

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See detailTracking complex mixtures of chemicals in our changing environment
Escher, Beate I.; Stapleton, Heather M.; Schymanski, Emma UL

in Science (2020), 367(6476), 388--392

Chemicals have improved our quality of life, but the resulting environmental pollution has the potential to cause detrimental effects on humans and the environment. People and biota are chronically ... [more ▼]

Chemicals have improved our quality of life, but the resulting environmental pollution has the potential to cause detrimental effects on humans and the environment. People and biota are chronically exposed to thousands of chemicals from various environmental sources through multiple pathways. Environmental chemists and toxicologists have moved beyond detecting and quantifying single chemicals to characterizing complex mixtures of chemicals in indoor and outdoor environments and biological matrices. We highlight analytical and bioanalytical approaches to isolating, characterizing, and tracking groups of chemicals of concern in complex matrices. Techniques that combine chemical analysis and bioassays have the potential to facilitate the identification of mixtures of chemicals that pose a combined risk. [less ▲]

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See detailStrengthen the European collaborative environmental research to meet European policy goals for achieving a sustainable, non-toxic environment
Brack, Werner; Ait-Aissa, Selim; Backhaus, Thomas et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 1--9

To meet the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals and the European Union (EU) strategy for a non-toxic environment, water resources and ecosystems management require cost-efficient solutions ... [more ▼]

To meet the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals and the European Union (EU) strategy for a non-toxic environment, water resources and ecosystems management require cost-efficient solutions for prevailing complex contamination and multiple stressor exposures. For the protection of water resources under global change conditions, specific research needs for prediction, monitoring, assessment and abatement of multiple stressors emerge with respect to maintaining human needs, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Collaborative European research seems an ideal instrument to mobilize the required transdisciplinary scientific support and tackle the large-scale dimension and develop options required for implementation of European policies. Calls for research on minimizing society’s chemical footprints in the water–food–energy–security nexus are required. European research should be complemented with targeted national scientific funding to address specific transformation pathways and support the evaluation, demonstration and implementation of novel approaches on regional scales. The foreseeable pressure developments due to demographic, economic and climate changes require solution-oriented thinking, focusing on the assessment of sustainable abatement options and transformation pathways rather than on status evaluation. Stakeholder involvement is a key success factor in collaborative projects as it allows capturing added value, to address other levels of complexity, and find smarter solutions by synthesizing scientific evidence, integrating governance issues, and addressing transition pathways. This increases the chances of closing the value chain by implementing novel solutions. For the water quality topic, the interacting European collaborative projects SOLUTIONS, MARS and GLOBAQUA and the NORMAN network provide best practice examples for successful applied collaborative research including multi-stakeholder involvement. They provided innovative conceptual, modelling and instrumental options for future monitoring and management of chemical mixtures and multiple stressors in European water resources. Advancement of EU water framework directive-related policies has therefore become an option. [less ▲]

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See detailFuture water quality monitoring: improving the balance between exposure and toxicity assessments of real-world pollutant mixtures
Altenburger, Rolf; Brack, Werner; Burgess, Robert M. et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 12

Environmental water quality monitoring aims to provide the data required for safeguarding the environment against adverse biological effects from multiple chemical contamination arising from anthropogenic ... [more ▼]

Environmental water quality monitoring aims to provide the data required for safeguarding the environment against adverse biological effects from multiple chemical contamination arising from anthropogenic diffuse emissions and point sources. Here, we integrate the experience of the international EU-funded project SOLUTIONS to shift the focus of water monitoring from a few legacy chemicals to complex chemical mixtures, and to identify relevant drivers of toxic effects. Monitoring serves a range of purposes, from control of chemical and ecological status compliance to safeguarding specific water uses, such as drinking water abstraction. Various water sampling techniques, chemical target, suspect and non-target analyses as well as an array of in vitro, in vivo and in situ bioanalytical methods were advanced to improve monitoring of water contamination. Major improvements for broader applicability include tailored sampling techniques, screening and identification techniques for a broader and more diverse set of chemicals, higher detection sensitivity, standardized protocols for chemical, toxicological, and ecological assessments combined with systematic evidence evaluation techniques. No single method or combination of methods is able to meet all divergent monitoring purposes. Current monitoring approaches tend to emphasize either targeted exposure or effect detection. Here, we argue that, irrespective of the specific purpose, assessment of monitoring results would benefit substantially from obtaining and linking information on the occurrence of both chemicals and potentially adverse biological effects. In this paper, we specify the information required to: (1) identify relevant contaminants, (2) assess the impact of contamination in aquatic ecosystems, or (3) quantify cause--effect relationships between contaminants and adverse effects. Specific strategies to link chemical and bioanalytical information are outlined for each of these distinct goals. These strategies have been developed and explored using case studies in the Danube and Rhine river basins as well as for rivers of the Iberian Peninsula. Current water quality assessment suffers from biases resulting from differences in approaches and associated uncertainty analyses. While exposure approaches tend to ignore data gaps (i.e., missing contaminants), effect-based approaches penalize data gaps with increased uncertainty factors. This integrated work suggests systematic ways to deal with mixture exposures and combined effects in a more balanced way, and thus provides guidance for future tailored environmental monitoring. [less ▲]

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