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Application of U.S. EPA Methods to the Analysis of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Determination of Clofibric Acid in Sewage Effluent By Gc-MS

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Abstract:An emerging area of research concerns pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the
environment and their possible impact on biota and ecosystems. The long term effects of
constant perfusion of PPCPs into the aquatic environment are presently unknown. Some
compounds are known to have physiological effects on nontarget biota at extremely low
concentrations (e.g., estrogens and estrogenic mimics and certain antidepressants) (1). Among the possible target analytes are several compounds possessing chemical structures that are resistant to microbial degradation and/or capable of being bioaccumulated. Acidic metabolites of pharmaceuticals present one type of analyte that appear in the effluent of many publically operated treatment facilities. The subject of the present study is to assess the potential exposure of biota and associated ecosystems to these compounds. This study is a first step in an overall strategy to understand the fate and transport of these compounds in the affected environment. Such studies are mission relevant and given high priority since the Environmental Chemistry Branch of the Environmental Sciences Division is charged with the assessment of emerging areas of risk under Strategic Plan 2000 for the Environmental Protection Agency Clofibric acid [2-(4-chlorophenoxy)-2-methylpropanoic] acid is the bioactive metabolite of various lipid regulating pro-drugs (1). Its structure is suggestive of chlorophenoxy acid herbicides (it is in fact an isomer of one such herbicide, mecoprop [2-(4-chloro-2- rnethylphenoxy) propionic acid]). However, clofibric acid appears to persist in the environment
much longer than do these herbicides (2). Thus, clofibric acid is a common contaminant of
sewage systems (3, 4, 5). It has also been detected in Swiss lakes and in the North Sea.

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Citation:Patterson, D. B., W. C. Brumley, V. Kelliher, and P. L. Ferguson. Application of U.S. EPA Methods to the Analysis of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Determination of Clofibric Acid in Sewage Effluent By Gc-MS. AMERICAN LABORATORY 34(1-4):20-28, (2002).
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Environmental Chemistry Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 08/16/2002
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Addressing Emerging Issues in Water Quality Through Environmental Chemistry
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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