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Investigation of drugs of abuse and relevant metabolites in Dutch sewage water by liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry

Reputable Mentor II
Reputable Mentor II
Bijlsma L, Emke E, Hernández F, de Voogt P.
Chemosphere. 2012 Nov;89(11):1399-406.
An extensive study on the presence of illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals with potential for abuse in sewage waters was made for the first time in the Netherlands. A total number of 24 target drugs were investigated in influent and effluent wastewater using liquid chromatography coupled to a high resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometer. This powerful analyzer has allowed not only the detection and identification of the compounds under investigation, but also their quantification at very low levels, which is highly innovative in the field of drugs of abuse. Samples were taken from five sewage treatment plants (STPs) during a whole week. The selected STPs served four cities of different size and an international airport. Daily variances of drug loads were demonstrated and removal efficiencies calculated for each drug and STP individually. Twelve target compounds were found in at least one influent or effluent, and highest concentrations were observed in influents collected from more urbanized areas. The compounds more frequently detected were amphetamine, benzoylecgonine, cocaine and THCCOOH together with the pharmaceuticals codeine, oxazepam and temazepam. Established week trends in consumption of drugs showed distinct differences between individual drugs. A slightly different occurrence pattern was observed in wastewaters from the airport. Thus, methamphetamine was only detected at Schiphol, a fact that was interpreted to be caused by consumption of this drug by travelers. Despite the fact that the Netherlands has frequently been criticized for its liberal drug policy the results from this study did not reveal higher drug consumption than found elsewhere, with the exception of cannabis.
Research Institute for Pesticides and Water, University Jaume I, Avda. Sos Baynat s/n, E-12071 Castellón, Spain.
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