Occurrence and risk of iodinated X-ray contrast media in source and tap water from Jiangsu province, China

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Microcontaminants in the water environment have received increasing attention due to their adverse effects on human health and wildlife. However, iodinated X-ray contrast media (ICM), a type of microcontaminants, have not yet been systematically documented in source and tap water. This study investigated ICM in water samples via a sampling activity from 25 drinking water sources and their corresponding 30 household taps in south-central Jiangsu Province, China. The total concentrations of ICM ranged from 14.2 to 138.5 ng/L in source water and 3.7 to 101.3 ng/L in tap water, respectively. The calculated average water treatment efficiency to remove ICM is 38.3% with large variation under different processes (ranging from 7.3% to 75.7%), which implied that ICM could not be effectively removed using current treatment technologies. By integrating other ICM into the predominant compound iohexol with relative potency factors, the health risks of total ICM through water consumption were assessed using the Monte Carlo simulation. The results concluded that the risk of ingesting ICM through tap water was not a major health concern for adults, teens, or children in the study area. Nevertheless, due to the lack of long-term toxicity data relevant for humans for ICM, this risk may be underestimated, which requires further research.

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Journal of Hazardous Materials