Synthetic polycyclic musks (PCMs) Galaxolide (HHCB), Tonalide (AHTN), Phantolide (AHDI), Traseolide (ATII) and Cashmeran (DPMI) are chiral chemicals that are commonly used in washing product industries as racemic mixtures. The major source of PCMs in municipal wastewater is from personal care and household products. Recent studies have shown that PCMs may enhance the relative toxicity of other environmental chemicals by inhibiting cellular xenobiotic defence systems. High sensitivity enantioselective analysis of these compounds enables improved characterisation of the environmental persistence and fate of PCMs, distinguishing between individual enantiomers so that a more complete understanding of environmental risks tributed by individual enantiomers may be obtained. Concentrations of PCMs through the various treatment stages of an advanced water recycling plant in Sydney were investigated to assess the removal of these chemicals. Average concentrations of HHCB, AHTN, AHDI, ATII and DPMI in influent were: 2,545, 301, 2, 5 and 33 ng L−1, respectively. In the final effluent, AHDI, ATII and DPMI were not detected, while HHCB and AHTN were still measured at concentrations of 21 and 2 ng L−1. No significant enantioselective transformation was detected during biological or advanced treatment processes.

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