Retrospective study of triclosan and methyl-triclosan residues in fish and suspended particulate matter: Results from the German Environmental Specimen Bank
A retrospective monitoring of triclosan (TCS; period 1994-2003 and 2008) and its potential transformation product methyl-triclosan (MTCS; period 1994-2008) was performed using archived fish samples from German rivers (16 sites, including Elbe and Rhine). At four of these sites suspended particulate matter (SPM) was also investigated covering the period 2005-2007. Samples were analyzed by GC/MS, either directly (MTCS) or after derivatization (TCS). TCS burdens of fish muscle tissue ranged from <0.2-3.4ngg(-1)ww (wet weight; corresponding to <2-69ngg(-1)lw, lipid weight) without apparent concentration trends over time. MTCS was detected at considerably higher concentrations in fish ranging from 1.0-33ngg(-1)ww (47-1010ngg(-1)lw) and increased until about 2003-2005. Thereafter, concentrations generally were lower, although at some sites single higher values were observed in recent years. In SPM, decreasing MTCS concentrations in the range 1-4ngg(-1) dry weight were detected while TCS was always below the limit of quantification. Assuming that MTCS concentrations are correlated to TCS consumption, the observed decrease in MTCS levels may be partly a result of the voluntary renunciation of TCS use in detergents for, e.g., laundry or dishwashing declared by a manufacturers' association in 2001. Because of a lack of ecotoxicity studies for MTCS, a QSAR-derived predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) was compared to averaged ambient water concentrations of fish which were calculated from maximum tissue residues by applying an appropriate bioconcentration factor from literature. Since these calculated water concentrations were below the PNEC it is assumed that MTCS alone poses no immediate risk to aquatic organism. The conversion to a PNEC for SPM organisms and comparison with detected SPM levels of MTCS also revealed no risk.