Shi P, Zhou S, Xiao H, Qiu J, Li A, Zhou Q, Pan Y, Hollert H. Toxicological and chemical insights into representative source and drinking water in eastern China. Environmental pollution 2017 Oct 17;233:35-44. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.10.033.
Drinking water safety is continuously threatened by the emergence of numerous toxic organic pollutants (TOPs) in environmental waters. In this study, an approach integrating in vitro bioassays and chemical analyses was performed to explore toxicological profiles of representative source and drinking water from waterworks of the Yangtze River (Yz), Taihu Lake (Th), and the Huaihe River (Hh) basins in eastern China. Overall, 34 of 96 TOPs were detected in all water samples, with higher concentrations in both source and drinking water samples of Hh, and pollutant profiles also differed across different river basins. Non-specific bioassays indicated that source water samples of Hh waterworks showed higher genotoxicity and mutagenicity than samples of Yz and Th. An EROD assay demonstrated dioxin-like toxicity which was detected in 5 of 7 source water samples, with toxin concentration levels ranging from 62.40 to 115.51 picograms TCDD equivalents per liter of water (eq./L). PAHs and PCBs were not the main contributors to observed dioxin-like toxicity in detected samples. All source water samples induced estrogenic activities of 8.00-129.00 nanograms 17β-estradiol eq./L, and estrogens, including 17α-ethinylestradiol and estriol, contributed 40.38-84.15% of the observed activities in examined samples. While drinking water treatments efficiently removed TOPs and their toxic effects, and estrogenic activity was still observed in drinking water samples of Hh. Altogether, this study indicated that the representative source water in eastern China, especially that found in Hh, may negatively affect human health, a finding that demonstrates an urgent requirement for advanced drinking water treatments.