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Sci Total Environ. 2009 Jan 1;407(2):962-74. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.09.048. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Determination of phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals and acidic pharmaceuticals in surface water of the Pearl Rivers in South China by gas chromatography-negative chemical ionization-mass spectrometry.

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State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China.


An analytical method for phenolic endocrine disrupting chemicals and acidic pharmaceuticals in river water was developed using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) coupled with negative chemical ionization (NCI) technique, and used for the determination of these compounds in the Pearl Rivers (Liuxi, Zhujiang and Shijing Rivers). Derivatization using pentafluorobenzoyl chloride (PFBOCl) and pentafluorobenzyl bromide (PFBBr) before GC-MS analysis were applied and optimized for phenolic compounds and acidic compounds, respectively. The target compounds were analyzed for river waters from the upstream to downstream of the Pearl Rivers. Phenolic compounds 4-tert-octylphenol (4-t-OP), 4-nonylphenol (4-NP), bisphenol-A (BPA), estrone (E1), estradiol (E2) and triclosan (TCS) were detected at trace or low levels in the water samples from Liuxi River and Zhujiang River. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) was not detected in the Pearl Rivers. The highest concentrations of the phenolic compounds were found in Shijing River, and they were 3150 ng/L for 4-t-OP, 11,300 ng/L for 4-NP, 1040 ng/L for BPA, 79 ng/L for E1, 7.7 ng/L for E2 and 355 ng/L for TCS, respectively. Only a few acidic pharmaceuticals were detected at low concentrations in water from Liuxi River and Zhujiang River, but the highest concentrations for the acidic pharmaceuticals were also found in Shijing River. The highest concentrations detected for clofibric acid, ibuprofen, gemfibrozil, naproxen, mefenamic acid and diclofenac were 17 ng/L, 685 ng/L, 19.8 ng/L, 125 ng/L, 24.6 ng/l and 150 ng/L, respectively. The results suggest Liuxi and Zhujiang Rivers are only slightly contaminated and can be used as drinking water sources, but Shijing River is heavily polluted by the wastewater from nearby towns.

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