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Sci Total Environ ; 820: 153049, 2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730084


With the outbreak and widespread of the COVID-19 pandemic, large numbers of disposable face masks (DFMs) were abandoned in the environment. This study first investigated the sorption and desorption behaviors of four antibiotics (tetracycline (TC), ciprofloxacin (CIP), sulfamethoxazole (SMX), and triclosan (TCS)) on DFMs in the freshwater and seawater. It was found that the antibiotics in the freshwater exhibited relatively higher sorption and desorption capacities on the DFMs than those in the seawater. Here the antibiotics sorption processes were greatly related to their zwitterion species while the effect of salinity on the sorption processes was negligible. However, the desorption processes were jointly dominated by solution pH and salinity, with greater desorption capacities at lower pH values and salinity. Interestingly, we found that the distribution coefficient (Kd) of TCS (0.3947 L/g) and SMX (0.0399 L/g) on DFMs was higher than those on some microplastics in freshwater systems. The sorption affinity of the antibiotics onto the DFMs followed the order of TCS > SMX > CIP > TC, which was positively correlated with octanol-water partition coefficient (log Kow) of the antibiotics. Besides, the sorption processes of the antibiotics onto the DFMs were mainly predominated by film diffusion and partitioning mechanism. Overall, hydrophobic interaction regulated the antibiotics sorption processes. These findings would help to evaluate the environmental behavior of DFMs and to provide the analytical framework of their role in the transport of other pollutants.

COVID-19 , Water Pollutants, Chemical , Adsorption , Anti-Bacterial Agents/chemistry , Fresh Water/chemistry , Humans , Masks , Pandemics , Plastics/chemistry , Seawater/chemistry , Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis