Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Total Environ. 2009 Jun 1;407(12):3793-802. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.03.009. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Occurrence of pharmaceuticals in Taiwan's surface waters: impact of waste streams from hospitals and pharmaceutical production facilities.

Author information

National Taiwan University, Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan.


We investigated the occurrence and distribution of pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics, estrogens, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta-blockers, and lipid regulators) in three rivers and in the waste streams of six hospitals and four pharmaceutical production facilities in Taiwan. The most frequently detected pharmaceuticals were acetaminophen, erythromycin-H(2)O, sulfamethoxazole, and gemfibrozil. NSAIDs were the next most-often detected compounds, with a detection frequency >60%. The other analytes were not detected or were seen in only a few samples at trace concentrations. The present study demonstrates a significant discharge of human medications from hospital and drug production facilities into surface waters in the Taipei district. The high concentrations of pharmaceuticals found in the Sindian and Dahan rivers demonstrate the alarming degree to which they have been impacted by urban drainage (waste effluents from hospitals, households, and pharmaceutical production facilities). The ubiquitous occurrence at extremely high concentrations of acetaminophen and erythromycin-H(2)O in both rivers (up to 15.7 and 75.5 microg/L) and in wastewater from hospitals and pharmaceutical production facilities (up to 417.5 and 7.84 microg/L) was unique. This finding, in combination with acetaminophen's status as the drug most often prescribed by Taiwan's dominant clinical institute, suggests the potential use of acetaminophen as a molecular indicator of contamination of Taiwan's aqueous environments with untreated urban drainage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center