Iglesias, A., Nebot, C., Vázquez, B. I., Coronel-Olivares, C., Abuín, C. M. F., & Cepeda, A. (2014). Monitoring the Presence of 13 Active Compounds in Surface Water Collected from Rural Areas in Northwestern Spain. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(5), 5251-5272. doi:10.3390/ijerph110505251.
Drug residues are considered environmental contaminants, and their occurrence has recently become a matter of concern. Analytical methods and monitoring systems are therefore required to control the continuous input of these drug residues into the environment. This article presents a suitable HPLC-ESI-MS/MS method for the simultaneous extraction, detection and quantification of residues of 13 drugs (antimicrobials, glucocorticosteroids, anti-inflammatories, anti-hypertensives, anti-cancer drugs and triphenylmethane dyes) in surface water. A monitoring study with 549 water samples was carried out in northwestern Spain to detect the presence of drug residues over two sampling periods during 2010, 2011 and 2012. Samples were collected from rural areas with and without farming activity and from urban areas. The 13 analytes were detected, and 18% of the samples collected showed positive results for the presence of at least one analyte. More collection sites were located in rural areas than in urban areas. However, more positive samples with higher concentrations and a larger number of analytes were detected in samples collected from sites located after the discharge of a WWTP. Results indicated that the WWTPs seems to act as a concentration point. Positive samples were also detected at a site located near a drinking water treatment plant.