A study on temporal trends and estimates of fate of Bisphenol A in agricultural soils after sewage sludge amendment

Sci Total Environ. 2015 May 15:515-516:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.01.053. Epub 2015 Feb 14.


Temporal concentration trends of BPA in soils were investigated following sewage sludge application to pasture (study 1: short term sludge application; study 2: long term multiple applications over 13 years). The background levels of BPA in control soils were similar, ranging between 0.67-10.57 ng g(-1) (mean: 3.02 ng g(-1)) and 0.51-6.58 ng g(-1) (mean: 3.22 ng g(-1)) for studies 1 and 2, respectively. Concentrations in both treated and control plots increased over the earlier sampling times of the study to a maximum and then decreased over later sampling times, suggesting other sources of BPA to both the treated and control soils over the study period. In study 1 there was a significant treatment effect of sludge application in the autumn (p=0.002) although no significant difference was observed between treatment and control soils in the spring. In study 2 treated soils contained considerably higher BPA concentrations than controls ranging between 12.89-167.9 ng g(-1) (mean: 63.15 ng g(-1)). This and earlier studies indicate the long-term accumulation of multiple contaminants by multiple sewage sludge applications over a prolonged period although the effects of the presence of such contaminant mixtures have not yet been elucidated. Fugacity modelling was undertaken to estimate partitioning of Bisphenol A (soil plus sewage: pore water: soil air partitioning) and potential uptake into a range of food crops. While Bisphenol A sorbs strongly to the sewage-amended soil, 4% by mass was predicted to enter soil pore water resulting in significant uptake by crops particularly leafy vegetables (3.12-75.5 ng g(-1)), but also for root crops (1.28-31.0 ng g(-1)) with much lower uptake into cereal grains (0.62-15.0 ng g(-1)). This work forms part of a larger programme of research aimed at assessing the risks associated with the long-term application of sewage sludge to agricultural soils.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Modelling; Risk assessment; Sewage sludge; Soil; Temporal trend.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / analysis*
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Fertilizers
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Sewage / chemistry
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Fertilizers
  • Phenols
  • Sewage
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • bisphenol A