Benzocaine is a promising candidate for registration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as an anesthetic in fish culture, management, and research. A method for the removal of benzocaine from hatchery effluents could speed registration of this drug by eliminating requirements for data on its residues, tolerances, detoxification, and environmental hazards. Carbon filtration effectively removes many organic compounds from water. This study tested the effectiveness of three types of activated carbon for removing benzocaine from water by column filtration under controlled laboratory conditions. An adsorptive capacity was calculated for each type of activated carbon. Filtrasorb 400 (12 x 40 mesh; U.S. standard sieve series) showed the greatest capacity for benzocaine adsorption (76.12 mg benzocaine/g carbon); Filtrasorb 300 (8 x 30 mesh) ranked next (31.93 mg/g); and Filtrasorb 816 (8 x 16 mesh) absorbed the least (1.0 mg/g). Increased adsorptive capacity was associated with smaller carbon particle size; however, smaller particle size also impeded column flow. Carbon filtration is a practical means for removing benzocaine from treated water.
Additional publication details
Removal of benzocaine from water by filtration with activated carbon