Temporal trends of plastic additive contents in sediment cores of three French rivers (Loire, Meuse and Moselle) over the last decades


  • Vidal Alice
  • Seignemartin Gabrielle
  • Copard Yoann
  • Montargès-Pelletier Emmanuelle
  • Ollive Vincent
  • Papillon Laure
  • Grenz Christian
  • Eyrolle Frédérique
  • Sempéré Richard


  • Tripropyl phosphate TiBP
  • Tri-iso-butyl phosphate TnBP
  • Tributyl-n-phosphate TCEP
  • Tris
  • Tripropyl phosphate
  • TiBP
  • Tri-iso-butyl phosphate
  • TnBP
  • Tributyl-n-phosphate
  • TCEP
  • Organic plastic additives
  • Phthalates
  • Organophosphate esters
  • River sedimentary archives
  • Contamination trajectories
  • Historical pollution

document type



Sediment cores from three major French watersheds (Loire, Meuse and Moselle) have been dated by 137Cs and 210Pbxs from 1910 (Loire), 1947 (Meuse) and 1930 (Moselle) until the present in order to reconstruct trajectories of plastic additive contaminants including nine phthalate esters (PAEs) and seven organophosphate esters (OPEs), measured by gas chromatography–mass spectrometer (GC–MS–MS). Historical levels of ∑PAEs were higher than those of ∑OPEs in the Loire and the Moselle sediments, while ∑PAEs and ∑OPEs contents were of the same order of magnitude in the Meuse sediments. Although increases in concentrations do not evolve linearly, our results clearly indicate an increase in OPEs and PAEs concentrations from the 1950–1970 period onwards, compared with the first half of the 20th century. Our results show that, ∑OPE contents increase gradually over time in the Loire and Meuse rivers but evolve more randomly in the Moselle River. Trajectories of ∑PAEs depend on the river and no generality can be established, suggesting sedimentary reworking and/or local contamination. Data from this study allowed comparisons of contents of ∑OPEs and ∑PAEs between rivers, with ∑OPE concentrations in the Moselle River >Meuse River >Loire River, and concentrations of ∑PAEs in the Loire River >Moselle River >Meuse River. Among all PAEs, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) was the most abundant in all sediment samples, followed by diisobutyl phthalate (DiBP). Tris (2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate(TCPP) was the most abundant OPE in sediments of the three rivers. In addition, strong positive Pearson correlations were observed between organic matter (OM) parameters and OPE concentrations, and to a lesser extent, between OM parameters and PAE concentrations. This is particularly true for the Moselle River and for the Loire River, but less so for the Meuse River.

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