Commonly used prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals are possibly present in surface- and ground-water samples at ambient concentrations less than 1 ??g/L. In this report, the performance characteristics of a combined solid-phase extraction isolation and high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS) analytical procedure for routine determination of the presence and concentration of human-health pharmaceuticals are described. This method was developed and used in a recent national reconnaissance of pharmaceuticals in USA surface waters. The selection of pharmaceuticals evaluated for this method was based on usage estimates, resulting in a method that contains compounds from diverse chemical classes, which presents challenges and compromises when applied as a single routine analysis. The method performed well for the majority of the 22 pharmaceuticals evaluated, with recoveries greater than 60% for 12 pharmaceuticals. The recoveries of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, a histamine (H2) receptor antagonist, and antihypoglycemic compound classes were less than 50%, but were retained in the method to provide information describing the potential presence of these compounds in environmental samples and to indicate evidence of possible matrix enhancing effects. Long-term recoveries, evaluated from reagent-water fortifications processed over 2 years, were similar to initial method performance. Method detection limits averaged 0.022 ??g/L, sufficient for expected ambient concentrations. Compound-dependent matrix effects on HPLC/ESI-MS analysis, including enhancement and suppression of ionization, were observed as a 20-30% increase in measured concentrations for three compounds and greater than 50% increase for two compounds. Changing internal standard and more frequent ESI source maintenance minimized matrix effects. Application of the method in the national survey demonstrates that several pharmaceuticals are routinely detected at 0.010-0.100 ??g/L concentrations. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Determination of pharmaceutical compounds in surface- and ground-water samples by solid-phase extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry