Toxicity of the micropollutants Bisphenol A, Ciprofloxacin, Metoprolol and Sulfamethoxazole in water samples before and after the oxidative treatment

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014 Apr-May;217(4-5):506-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.09.007. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


The amount of organic micropollutants detected in surface waters increases steadily. Common waste water treatment plants are not built to remove these substances. Thus there is a need for new technologies. A promising technology is the use of advanced oxidation processes through which organic micropollutants can be removed from waste water. However, the formation of oxidation by-products is likely and needs to be investigated since the by-products not only differ from their parent compounds in regard to their chemical and physical properties but they can also differ in toxicity. Therefore this study was designed to combine chemical and toxicological analyses of the advanced oxidation (O3 [5mg/L] or UV/H2O2 [Hg-LP lamp; 15W; 1g/L H2O2]) of waste water treatment plant effluents and pure water. Effluent samples from conventional activated sludge waste water treatment (mechanical treatment, activated sludge basin, and primary as well as secondary treatment steps) and high-purity deionized water (pure water) were spiked with Bisphenol A, Ciprofloxacin, Metoprolol or Sulfamethoxazole and treated with O3 or UV/H2O2. For the toxicological analyses mammalian cells (CHO-9, T47D) were exposed to the water samples for 24h and were tested for cytotoxicity (MTT Test), genotoxicity (Alkaline Comet Assay) and estrogenicity (ER Calux(®)). The results indicate that the oxidative treatment (O3 or UV/H2O2) of Bisphenol A, Metoprolol, Sulfamethoxazole or Ciprofloxacin in waste water did not result in toxic oxidation by-products, whereas the UV/H2O2 treatment of Bisphenol A and Ciprofloxacin in pure water resulted in by-products with cytotoxic but no estrogenic effects after 60min.

Keywords: Advanced oxidation processes; Antibiotics; Bisphenol A; In vitro toxicity; Micropollutants; Ozone; UV/H(2)O(2); Waste water treatment; β-Blocker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Ciprofloxacin / toxicity*
  • Cricetulus
  • Humans
  • Metoprolol / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Sulfamethoxazole / toxicity*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Water Purification


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Metoprolol
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • bisphenol A