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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Jan;22(1):508-15. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3288-7. Epub 2014 Aug 5.

Removal of antineoplastic drugs cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, and 5-fluorouracil and a vasodilator drug pentoxifylline from wastewaters by ozonation.

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Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 106, Taiwan, Republic of China,


We investigated the ozonation of the antineoplastic drugs cyclophosphamide (CP), ifosfamide (IF), and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and of the vasodilator pentoxifylline (PEN) in distilled water, in pharmaceutical wastewater, and in hospital effluent at pH 5-11. Under an alkaline pH of 11, all of the target compounds rapidly degraded through the attack of hydroxyl radicals, which resulted in their complete removal within 5 min at an ozone supply rate of 3 g O3/h. Under acidic pH conditions, such as pH 5.6, CP and IF exhibited slower removal rates; however, compounds with unsaturated C-C bonds, such as 5-FU and PEN, were still removed at rapid rates under acidic conditions. Although the parent compounds were removed within minutes, the resulting ozonation byproducts were resistant to further ozonation and possessed increased Microtox acute toxicity. In distilled water, the resulting ozonation products exhibited minimal mineralization but high acute toxicity, whereas in naturally buffered pharmaceutical and hospital effluents, the byproducts were more amenable to removal and detoxification.

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