Quality of wastewater in the El Paso, Texas region --- Analysis of pharmaceuticals and personal care products using high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry

Rodolfo Guerrero, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs), such as household cleaning materials, prescription medication, and personal hygiene products, are pollutants of emerging concern that are found in 80% of our water system. Because of their applications, PPCPs are subsequently being released into wastewater; however, current wastewater treatment facilities are not regulated or designed to remove PPCPs. Therefore, these compounds are discharged into the environment on a continual basis. The effects of PPCPs on human health are not yet well known; however, recent research has found that exposure to these chemicals has some adverse developmental effects on aquatic species at low concentrations in lab exposure studies. ^ Present research on PPCPs focuses on their occurrences, concentrations, fate, and transport in the environment. The major goal of this research was to analyze the presence of PPCPs in wastewater and river samples collected in the El Paso, Texas area. The objective of this study is to (1) optimize an existing analytical method to obtain higher sensitivity, (2) establish a baseline of concentrations of PPCPs in this border region, and (3) assess the impacts of PPCP in wastewater bio-solids from wastewater treatment plants in the El Paso, TX. ^ This research was modeled after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 1694: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Water, Soil, Sediment, and Biosolids by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS. The principle target compounds for this study are acetaminophen, fluoxetine, ciprofloxacin, caffeine, trimethoprim, sulfamethazine, codeine, cotinine, and erythromycin. Samples were prepared by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and analyzed on a Linear Ion Trap (LTQ) for the presence of the target analytes. A preliminary study on the influent, effluent and sludge wastewater samples collected from two wastewater facilities in the El Paso, TX region showed the presence of PPCPs in the ppt (ng/L) to ppq (pg/L) range. Fifty-four wastewater samples and six sludge samples have been processed for analysis and are being stored for further study once instrumentation time has been allotted. These samples will help to form a baseline and better understanding of the presence of PPCPs. The data will provide valuable information for future research addressing the concern of PPCPs on human health and water quality.^

Subject Area

Environmental Health|Chemistry, Analytical|Environmental Sciences

Recommended Citation

Guerrero, Rodolfo, "Quality of wastewater in the El Paso, Texas region --- Analysis of pharmaceuticals and personal care products using high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1503815.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1503815

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