Ecotoxicology of Antimicrobial Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products in Illinois Rivers and Streams

John Kelly, Emma Rosi-Marshall, John Scott

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


In urban areas wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent can represent a significant component of freshwater ecosystems, and WWTP effluent can be a point source for a variety of pollutants, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). We analyzed two field sites in the Chicago region: (1) an urban river receiving effluent from a large WWTP; and (2) a suburban river receiving effluent from a smaller WWTP. At both sites WWTP effluent had negative effects on the abundance and diversity of benthic bacterial communities. We then investigated the potential effects of one specific PPCP, triclosan, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial compound that is incorporated into numerous consumer products. We developed a method for the quantification of triclosan in sediment based on pressurized fluid extraction (PFE) by accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) and used this method to demonstrate that triclosan is present in streams in the Chicago region and that triclosan concentrations in stream sediments increased with degree of urbanization. Finally, we conducted a field survey and a lab-scale model stream experiment and demonstrated that triclosan exposure is linked to increases in triclosan resistance and decreases in biodiversity within benthic bacterial communities. These results indicate that widespread use of triclosan could have negative ecological consequences. Results also published in Bradley Drury, John Scott, Emma J. Rosi-Marshall, and John J. Kelly (2013). Environmental Science &Technology 47(15), 8923-8930. DOI: 10.1021/es401919k
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Sustainable Technology Center
StatePublished - Feb 2015

Publication series

Name2010 Sponsored Research Symposium
NameRR Series (Illinois Sustainable Technology Center)


  • Triclosan -- Illinois -- Environmental aspects
  • Personal care products -- Environmental aspects -- Illinois
  • Antimicrobials -- Environmental aspects -- Illinois
  • Sewage -- Environmental aspects -- Illinois
  • Wastewater treatment plants -- Environmental aspects -- Illinois


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