Occurrence, toxicity and transformation of six typical benzotriazoles in the environment: A review

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Apr 15;661:407-421. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.138. Epub 2019 Jan 17.


Benzotriazoles (BTs) are a group of heterocyclic compounds which have been widely applied in industrial activities and domestic life mainly as corrosive inhibitors. BTs have been ubiquitously detected in receiving environments and cause potential toxicity to non-target organisms. This paper reviews the occurrence and fate of six selected benzotriazole compounds in different environmental and biological matrices, as well as the transformation and toxicity. Due to their high hydrophilicity and insufficient removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), these compounds were widely detected in aquatic environments with concentrations mainly from tens ng/L to tens μg/L. Considerable residual levels of BTs in plant, fish, air, tap water and human urine have implied the potential risks to various organsims. The reported acute toxicity of BTs are generally low (EC50 in mg/L level). Some observed sublethal effects including endocrine disrupting effects, hepatotoxicity and neurotoxicity, as well as the ability to promote the development of endometrial carcinoma still raise a concern. BTs are found often more recalcitrant to biodegradation compared to photolysis and ozonation. Environmental factors including pH, temperature, irradiation wavelength, redox condition as well as components of matrix are proved crucial to the removal of BTs. Further studies are needed to explore the precise environment fate and toxicity mechanism of BTs, and develop advanced treatment technologies to reduce the potential ecological risks of BTs.

Keywords: Benzotriazoles; Occurrence; Toxicity; Transformation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drinking Water / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Plants / drug effects
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Triazoles / analysis*
  • Triazoles / toxicity*
  • Urine / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Drinking Water
  • Triazoles
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • benzotriazole