Understanding Human Exposure to Benzotriazoles and Benzotriazole UV-Stabilizers in the Australian Population Using Human Biomonitoring and Wastewater Analysis

ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship

Benzotriazoles (BZTs) are a class of chemicals used as anti-corrosives and pharmaceutical drug precursors and have been manufactured in large quantities since the 1970s. Their wide range of applications includes as additives in dishwashing tablets/liquids, aircraft de-icing fluids, heat transfer fluid, lubricants, and anti-microbial and antiprotozoal agents. Their phenolic counterpart, the Benzotriazole UV-Stabilizers (BUVs), are primarily used as additives in personal care products and plastics due to their ability to absorb the full UV spectrum. Annually, large quantities of these compounds are being manufactured, produced, and consumed globally.

BZTs and BUVs have been classified as emerging pollutants and substances of very high concern by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the European Chemicals Agency. Although sparse, environmental monitoring studies have reported their ubiquitous presence in different environmental matrices, while human biomonitoring (HBM) studies have also detected their levels in human samples such as breast milk, adipose tissue (body fat), urine, and blood. Their propensity for long-range transport has raised major concerns, particularly when UV-328 was detected in in the Arctic. Exposure to these compounds has been associated with adverse health effects in both animals and humans. In Australia, there have been no human biomonitoring studies of the public’s exposure to these compounds. Therefore, this project aims to establish BZTs and BUVs baseline levels in the Australian population through the development of methods to detect and analyse different human samples and to utilise systematic analysis to understand Australian exposure trends over the last decade. Such methods will pave the way for the determination of possible biomarkers to understand exposure in a more profound way. The levels of these compounds in Australian wastewaters will also be explored to understand trends in consumption and relevance to existing HBM data.


Project members

Prof Jochen Mueller

Theme Leader, Emerging Environmental Health Risks

Dr Xianyu (Fisher) Wang

Senior Research Fellow