Industrial wastewater contains a variety of toxic substances, which may severely contaminate the aquatic environment if discharged without adequate treatment. In this study, effluents from a thin film transistor liquid crystal display wastewater treatment plant and the receiving water were analyzed by bioassays and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to investigate the presence of estrogenic compounds, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonists, and genotoxicants. Xenobiotic AhR agonists were frequently detected and, in particular, strong AhR agonist activity and genotoxicity were found in the suspended solids of the aeration tank outflow. The high AhR agonist activity in the final effluent (FE) and the downstream river water suggested that the treatment plant failed to remove the wastewater-related AhR agonists. In contrast, although significant estrogenic potency could be detected in raw wastewater or effluents from different treatment processes, the FE and the receiving river water exhibited no or weak estrogenicity. Instrumental analysis showed that bisphenol A was often detected in water samples. However, the investigated estrogenic compounds could only account for a small portion of the estrogenicity in the collected samples. Therefore, further investigation is necessary to identify the major estrogenic compounds and AhR agonist contaminants in the wastewater effluents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis