Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 10854–10866 | Cite as

Threats of organophosphate esters (OPEs) in surface water to ecological system in Haihe River of China based on species sensitivity distribution model and assessment factor model

  • Zhiguang Niu
  • Zhaozhao Zhang
  • Jiafu Li
  • Jiahui He
  • Ying ZhangEmail author
Research Article


Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are a kind of emerging contaminants, but the information about their pollution profile and ecological risk are still scarce in China. In this study, 31 surface water samples of Haihe River (China) were collected in November 2017, and 11 OPEs were measured, and the ecological risk of OPEs was assessed by means of species sensitivity distribution (SSD) method and assessment factor method. Additionally, Pearson correlation analysis and an international comparison with other rivers in the world were conducted. The results showed that total OPEs ranged from 23.98 to 824.72 ng L−1, and the mean value was 228.70 ng L−1. The concentration of OPEs decreased as follows: Tri(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP) > Tri(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) > Triethyl phosphate (TEP) > Tributoxyethyl phosphate (TBEP) > Triphenyl phosphate (TPhP) > Tripropyl phosphate (TPrP) > Tri(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate (TEHP) > 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate (EHDPP) > Tri(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP) > Tri-n-butyl phosphate (TnBP) > Tri-m-cresyl phosphate (TMPP). TCPP (19.54–160.82 ng L−1) and TCEP (N.D.-151.99 ng L−1) with the mean value of 76.67 and 53.13 ng L−1 respectively were identified as the richest OPEs in Haihe River. The concentration of OPEs slowly increased in the upper reaches of Haihe River, and it tended to be stable in the middle reaches of Haihe River and decreased rapidly from the downstream to the outer sea. Significantly positive correlations occurred among three chlorinated alkyl OPEs (TCEP, TCPP, and TDCPP), suggesting that they might come from the same source. Based on the comparison, the pollution condition of OPEs in Haihe River was low, and TCEP was found to be the most abundant OPEs in China but it was not that in Europe. The ecological risk assessment on the basis of assessment factor method suggested that the risk of OPEs in Haihe River for algae, crustacean, and fish was limited. In addition, the results of SSD method suggested that the combined ecological risk of four OPEs in Haihe River was also low. This study provides information about the pollution status of OPEs in the surface water of China to some extents and a project for the risk estimation based on SSD for prior and emerging flame retardants.


Organophosphorus esters (OPEs) Haihe River Pollution profile Surface water Ecological risk 


Funding information

This project was funded by the National Nature Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0401108), Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission (18YFZCSF00740), the National Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (No. 2012ZX07203-002-005), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4461_MOESM1_ESM.doc (10.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 10340 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.MOE Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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