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Determination of Human-Health Pharmaceuticals in Filtered Water by Chemically Modified Styrene-Divinylbenzene Resin-Based Solid-Phase Extraction and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry

Techniques and Methods 5-B5

Prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey Office of Water Quality, National Water Quality Laboratory
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Abstract

In 1999, the Methods Research and Development Program of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory began the process of developing a method designed to identify and quantify human-health pharmaceuticals in four filtered water-sample types: reagent water, ground water, surface water minimally affected by human contributions, and surface water that contains a substantial fraction of treated wastewater. Compounds derived from human pharmaceutical and personal-care product use, which enter the environment through wastewater discharge, are a newly emerging area of concern; this method was intended to fulfill the need for a highly sensitive and highly selective means to identify and quantify 14 commonly used human pharmaceuticals in filtered-water samples. The concentrations of 12 pharmaceuticals are reported without qualification; the concentrations of two pharmaceuticals are reported as estimates because long-term reagent-spike sample recoveries fall below acceptance criteria for reporting concentrations without qualification. The method uses a chemically modified styrene-divinylbenzene resin-based solid-phase extraction (SPE) cartridge for analyte isolation and concentration. For analyte detection and quantitation, an instrumental method was developed that used a high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) system to separate the pharmaceuticals of interest from each other and coextracted material. Immediately following separation, the pharmaceuticals are ionized by electrospray ionization operated in the positive mode, and the positive ions produced are detected, identified, and quantified using a quadrupole mass spectrometer. In this method, 1-liter water samples are first filtered, either in the field or in the laboratory, using a 0.7-micrometer (um) nominal pore size glass-fiber filter to remove suspended solids. The filtered samples then are passed through cleaned and conditioned SPE cartridges at a rate of about 15 milliliters per minute. Excess water is eliminated from the cartridge sorbent bed by passing air through the cartridges, and the analytes retained on the SPE bed are eluted from the cartridge sequentially, first with methanol, followed by acidified methanol, and combined in collection tubes. This sample extract then is reduced from about 10 milliliters (mL) to about 0.1 mL (or 100 microliters) under a stream of purified nitrogen gas with the collection tubes in a heated (40 degrees C) water bath. The reduced extracts then are fortified with an internal standard solution (when using internal standard quantitation), brought to a final volume of 1 mL with an aqueous ammonium formate buffer solution, and filtered through a 0.2-um Teflon syringe filter as they are transferred into vials for instrumental analysis. Instrumental analysis by the HPLC/MS procedure permits determination of individual pharmaceutical concentrations from 0.005 to 1.0 microgram per liter, based on the lowest and the highest calibration standards routinely used. The reporting levels for this method are compound dependent, and have been experimentally determined based on the precision of quantitation of compounds from eight fortified organic-free water samples in single-operator experiments. The method detection limits and interim reporting levels for the compounds determined by this method were calculated from recoveries of the pharmaceuticals from reagent-water samples amended at 0.05 microgram per liter, and ranged between 0.0069 and 0.0142 microgram per liter, and 0.015 and 0.10 microgram per liter, respectively. Concentrations for 12 compounds are reported without qualification, and for two compounds are reported as qualified estimates. After initial development, the method was applied to more than 1,800 surface-, ground-, and wastewater samples from 2002 to 2005 and documented in a number of published studies. This research application of the method provided the opportunity to collect a l

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Determination of Human-Health Pharmaceuticals in Filtered Water by Chemically Modified Styrene-Divinylbenzene Resin-Based Solid-Phase Extraction and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
Series title:
Techniques and Methods
Series number:
5-B5
ISBN:
9781411321823
Edition:
Version 1.0
Year Published:
2008
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
National Water Quality Laboratory
Description:
viii, 56 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Chapter 5 - Section B, Methods of the National Water Quality Laboratory - Book 5, Laboratory Analysis