Environmental occurrence and ecological risk assessment of organic UV filters in marine organisms from Hong Kong coastal waters

Ziye Sang, Kelvin S Y LEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Organic UV filters, now considered to be emerging contaminants in aquatic ecosystems, are being intensively tracked in environmental waters worldwide. However, their environmental fate and impact of these contaminants on marine organisms remains largely unknown, especially in Asia. This work elucidates the occurrence and the ecological risks of seven UV filters detected in farmed fish, wild mussels and some other wild organisms collected from local mariculture farms in Hong Kong. For all of the organisms, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC) and octyl dimethyl p-aminobenzoic acid (OD-PABA) were the predominant contaminants with the highest concentrations up to 51.3 and 24.1 ng/g (dw), respectively; lower levels were found for benzophenone-8 (BP-8), octocrylene (OC) and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) from < LOQ to < 14.4 ng/g (dw); 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) and 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BC) were rarely detected. Additionally, the detection frequencies and measured concentrations of all targets were clearly higher in mussels than in fish. Spatial distribution of studied UV filters indicated a positive correlation between their measured concentrations and the anthropogenic activities responsible for their direct emission. The ecological risk assessment specific to the marine aquatic environment was carried out. The risk quotient (RQ) values of EHMC and BP-3 were calculated as 3.29 and 2.60, respectively, indicating these two UV filters may pose significant risks to the marine aquatic environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-498
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Global comparison
  • Marine organisms
  • Occurrence monitoring
  • Risk quotient
  • Ultraviolet filters


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