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J Chromatogr A. 2003 Oct 10;1015(1-2):129-41.

Determination of selected human pharmaceutical compounds in effluent and surface water samples by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry.

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Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Burnham Laboratory, Remembrance Avenue, Burnham on Crouch, Essex CM0 8HA, UK.


A simple method is presented for the analysis of 13 pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical metabolite compounds in sewage effluents and surface waters. The pharmaceutical compounds were extracted using a genetic solid-phase extraction (SPE) procedure using Phenomenex Strata X as a stationary phase. Extracts were quantitatively analysed by four separate reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS) techniques and quantified by comparison with an internal standard ([13C]-phenacetin). Recoveries and limits of detection (LOD) for sulfamethoxazole (120%, 50 ng l(-1)), acetyl-sulfamethoxazole (56%, 50 ng l(-1)), trimethoprim (123%, 10 ng l(-1)), erythromycin (73%, 10 ng l(-1)), paracetamol (75%, 50 ng l(-1)), ibuprofen (117%, 20 ng l(-1)), clofibric acid (83%, 50 ng l(-1)), mefenamic acid (24%, 50 ng l(-1)), diclofenac (62%, 20 ng l(-1)), propranolol (45%, 10 ng l(-1)), dextropropoxyphene (63%, 20 ng l(-1)) and tamoxifen (42%, 10 ng l(-1)) were all acceptable. The recovery of lofepramine (4%) was too low to be of use in a monitoring programme. Application of the method to samples collected from UK sewage effluents and surface waters showed detectable concentrations of mefenamic acid, diclofenac, propranolol, erythromycin, trimethoprim and acetyl-sulfamethoxazole in both matrices. Ibuprofen and dextropropoxyphene were detected in sewage effluents alone. All other pharmaceutical compounds were below the methods limits of detection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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