Organophosphate esters (OPEs) in the marine environment: Spatial distribution and profiles in French coastal bivalves

Organophosphate esters (OPEs), chemicals widely used in industrial production, electronics and domestic products, have become ubiquitous environmental contaminants. In this study, the levels and spatial distribution of 11 OPEs (aryl, alkyl and halogenated) were investigated in over 100 samples of filter-feeding bivalves collected yearly between 2014 and 2021 at sites of contrasted pressure along the French coasts. OPEs were found in virtually all samples, indicating their widespread spatial and temporal occurrence in coastal bivalves and the relevance of their biomonitoring. The median concentrations were between 0.4 (TMPP) and 4.9 ng g−1 dry weight (TCIPP), with TCIPP, TNBP and EHDPP found at the highest median values. TCEP and TBOEP were not frequently detected overall, but each year, the same sites showed repeatedly high concentrations. Structurally-related OPEs generally correlated, but the geographical distributions were not predictable from known anthropogenic pressures (population in the catchment area, industry), with little comparability with other hydrophobic contaminants. If the relation between sources of OPEs and bioaccumulated levels remains uncertain, local hotspots, rather than riverine/atmospheric transportation, could account for their geographical distribution. A systematic review of the levels of OPEs found in filter-feeding bivalves worldwide revealed comparable levels in our study with those reported elsewhere; however, the levels across and within (when available) studies generally spanned several orders of magnitude, indicating high spatial and temporal heterogeneity. In view of the growing concerns regarding OPEs, this study provides essential reference data for future studies of their occurrence on European coasts and supports the need for a more systematic (bio)monitoring of this class of contaminant.


Coastal marine environment, Bioaccumulation, Shellfish, Flame retardants, Plasticizers

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Aminot Yann, Tao Lin, Heas Moisan Karine, Pollono Charles, O'loghlin Margaret, Munschy Catherine (2023). Organophosphate esters (OPEs) in the marine environment: Spatial distribution and profiles in French coastal bivalves. Chemosphere. 330. 138702 (10p.).,

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