Science Inventory



Alvarez, D. A., T JonesLepp, P. E. Stackelberg, J. D. Petty, J. N. Huckins, E. T. Furlong, S. D. Zaugg, AND M. T. Meyer. WATER QUALITY MONITORING OF PHARMACEUTICALS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS USING PASSIVE SAMPLERS. Presented at 226th American Chemical Society, Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 22-26, 2004.


The research focused on in the subtasks is the development and application of state-of the-art technologies to meet the needs of the public, Office of Water, and ORD in the area of Water Quality. Located In the subtasks are the various research projects being performed in support of this Task and more in-depth coverage of each project. Briefly, each project's objective is stated below.

Subtask 1: To integrate state-of-the-art technologies (polar organic chemical integrative samplers, advanced solid-phase extraction methodologies with liquid chromatography/electrospray/mass spectrometry) and apply them to studying the sources and fate of a select list of PPCPs. Application and improvement of analytical methodologies that can detect non-volatile, polar, water-soluble pharmaceuticals in source waters at levels that could be environmentally significant (at concentrations less than parts per billion, ppb). IAG with USGS ends in FY05. APM 20 due in FY05.

Subtask 2: Coordination of interagency research and public outreach activities for PPCPs. Participate on NSTC Health and Environment subcommittee working group on PPCPs. Web site maintenance and expansion, invited technical presentations, invited articles for peer-reviewed journals, interviews for media, responding to public inquiries.

Subtask 3: To apply state-of-the-art environmental forensic techniques to the recognition and characterization of emerging pollutants in the aquatic environment. There is a need for high sensitivity and for a powerful method of structural characterization, advanced mass spectrometric and chromatographic techniques to be employed to meet the challenge of emerging pollutants, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products, agents of sabotage, and explosives. Ongoing efforts continue to identify previously unrecognized pollutants from a range of problematic samples having importance to regional and state contacts.

Subtask 4: To provide the Agency with a set of practical analytical methods for the selective and sensitive determination of selenium species (organic, inorganic, volatile and non volatile forms) in multiple media to accurately assess and if necessary control the risk of selenium exposure to organisms. This includes development of optimal extraction, digestion, separation and detection approaches.

Subtask 5: To develop and apply an analytical method that can extract and detect synthetic musks. The extent of exposure may be determined by measuring levels of synthetic musks from their potential source (communal sewage effluent). This subtask ends in FY05 with the deliverable of APM 21. Future applications to biosolids will be covered in subtask 6.

Subtask 6: Application, and improvement, of previously in-house developed sensitive, robust, and green, methodologies regarding the use of urobilin and sterols as a possible markers of sewage contamination.

Subtask 7: Adaptation and improvement of previously developed in-house methods, for PPCPs (e.g., antibiotics and musks) to solid materials (e.g. biosolids, sediments).

Subtask 8: Study of the presence of personal care products, incombustible organic compounds from the direct-piping of small engines exhaust in Lake Tahoe, and lake deposition of airborne pollutants from industrial activity


The demand on freshwater to sustain the needs of the growing population is of worldwide concern. Often this water is used, treated, and released for reuse by other communities. The anthropogenic contaminants present in this water may include complex mixtures of pesticides, prescription and nonprescription drugs, personal care and common consumer products, industrial and domestic-use materials and degradation products of these compounds. Although, the fate of these pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in wastewater treatment facilities is largely unknown, the limited data that does exist suggests that many of these chemicals survive treatment and some others are returned to their biologically active form via deconjugation of metabolites.

Traditional water sampling methods (i.e., grab or composite samples) often require the concentration of large amounts of water to detect trace levels of PPCPs. A passive sampler, the polar organic chemical integrative sampler (POCIS), has been developed to integratively concentrate the trace levels of these chemicals, determine the time-weighted average water concentrations, and provide a method of estimating the potential exposure of aquatic organisms to these complex mixtures of waterborne contaminants. The POCIS (U.S. Patent number 6,478,961) consists of a hydrophilic microporous membrane, acting as a semipermeable barrier, enveloping various solid-phase sorbents that retain the sampled chemicals. Sampling rates for individual chemicals determined in the laboratory are used in conjunction with theoretical uptake models to provide estimates of the ambient water concentrations of those chemicals.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 08/22/2004
Record Last Revised: 06/06/2005
Record ID: 81036