AbstractThis study reports the occurrence and distribution of organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizer (OPEs) in sediments of eight large river basin estuaries and deltas across Europe. A robust and sensitive OPE analysis method was developed through the application of an in-cell clean-up in an accelerated solvent extraction and the use of an GC-MSMS System for instrumental analyses. OPEs were detected in all sediment samples with sum concentrations of up to 181 ng g−1 dw. A fingerprinting method was used to identify river specific pattern to compare river systems. The estuaries and deltas were chosen to have a conglomerate print of the whole river. The results are showing very similar OPE patterns across Europe with minor differences driven by local industrial input. The European estuary concentrations and patterns were compared with OPEs detected in the Xiaoquing River in China, as an example for a region with other production, usage and legislative regulations. The Chinese fingerprint differed significant from the overall European pattern.