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Prevalence of Eight Phthalate Monoesters in Water from the Okavango Delta, Northern Botswana

  • Perry W. Bartsch
  • Thea M. Edwards
  • John W. BrockEmail author
Article

Abstract

Phthalate diesters are used in personal care products, plastics, and pesticides, resulting in widespread human and wildlife exposure. Phthalate diesters leach out of these products and ultimately enter biological systems where they are quickly metabolized to phthalate monoesters and glucuronides. As such, phthalate monoesters can serve as indicators of anthropogenic activity in wilderness areas. The Okavango Delta, an inland seasonal wetland covering 5000–12,000 km2 in Botswana, provides fresh water to many species of birds, fish, reptiles, and large mammals. Water samples (N = 46) were taken from across the Okavango water system, extracted, and analyzed for eight different phthalate monoesters using liquid chromatography and isotope dilution mass spectrometry. Seven of eight phthalate monoesters were detected from the low ng/L to low µg/L levels. Phthalate monoesters were found in samples from all five sampling regions. Sources of these contaminants are unknown, but their presence indicates encroachment of human activity on the Okavango Delta.

Keywords

Phthalates Okavango Delta Water River 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We greatly appreciate the hospitality, guidance, and field assistance of Ineelo Mosie, Rele Sekotswe, Guy Lobjoit, Brandon Moore, Mike Murray-Hudson, Keta Mosepele and the Okavango Research Institute. Also support came from other members of the Brock research group, Emily Phillips and Michael Way; the Coypu Foundation; and the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Funding

This study was funded primarily by the University of North Carolina Asheville with additional support from the Fulbright Foundation, Coypu Foundation and the Okavango Research Institute.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of North Carolina At AshevilleAshevilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of the SouthSewaneeUSA

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