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Journal Article 
Wastewater-Based Epidemiology as a New Tool for Estimating Population Exposure to Phthalate Plasticizers 
González-Mariño, I; Rodil, R; Barrio, I; Cela, R; Quintana, JB 
Environmental Science and Technology
ISSN: 0013-936X
EISSN: 1520-5851 
This study proposes the monitoring of phthalate metabolites in wastewater as a nonintrusive and economic alternative to urine analysis for estimating human exposure to phthalates. To this end, a solid-phase extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method was developed, allowing for the determination of eight phthalate metabolites in wastewater (limits of quantification between 0.5 and 32 ng L(-1)). The analysis of samples from the NW region of Spain showed that these substances occur in raw wastewater up to ca. 1.6 μg L(-1) and in treated wastewater up to ca. 1 μg L(-1). Concentrations in raw wastewater were converted into levels of exposure to six phthalate diesters. For two of them, these levels were always below the daily exposure thresholds recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Food Safety Authority. For the other four, however, estimates of exposure surpassed such a threshold (especially the toddler threshold) in some cases, highlighting the significance of the exposure to phthalates in children. Finally, concentrations in wastewater were also used to estimate metabolite concentrations in urine, providing a reasonable concordance between our results and the data obtained in two previous biomonitoring studies. 
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