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The 25 Chemicals Found in All Nine of the Biosolids Studied

Median concentrations are normalized to organic carbon and are given in micrograms per kilogram of organic carbon (µg/kg OC)

Chemical Measured Type of Chemical or Use Median Concentration
µg/kg OC
carbamazapine antiepileptic drug 68
diphenhydramine antihistamine drug 340
fluoxetine antidepressant drug 370
d-limonene fragrance compound 630
tonalide (AHTN) fragrance compound 11,600
galaxolide (HHCB) fragrance compound 3,900
indole fragrance compound 19,600
4-tert-octylphenol detergent metabolite 4,030
para-nonylphenol-total detergent metabolite 261,000
nonylphenol, monoethoxy-total detergent metabolite 21,600
nonylphenol, dithoxy-total detergent metabolite 7,010
bisphenol A fire retardant 4,690
3-beta-coprostanol steroid 126,000
cholesterol steroid 209,000
beta-sitosterol steroid 131,000
stigmastanol steroid 17,400
phenanthrene polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 342
anthracene polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 139
fluoranthene polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 1,090
pyrene polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 1,110
phenol disinfectant chemical 2,180
triclosan disinfectant chemical 10,200
diethylhexyl phthalate plasticizer 10,500
para-cresol preservative 4,400
skatol fecal indicator 2,510


Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Zaugg, S.D., Burkhardt, M.R., Werner, S.L., Cahill, J.D., and Jorgensen, G.R., 2006, Survey of organic wastewater contaminants in biosolids destined for land application: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 40, no. 23, p. 7207-7215, doi:10.1021/es0603406.

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