John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pharmaceutical concentrations in screened municipal wastewaters in Victoria, British Columbia: A comparison with prescription rates and predicted concentrations

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Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are emerging chemicals of concern detected in surface waters globally. Recent reviews advocate that PPCP occurrence, fate, and exposure need to be better predicted and characterized. The use of pharmaceutical prescription rates to estimate PPCP concentrations in the environment has been suggested. Concentrations of 7 pharmaceuticals (acetylsalicylic acid, diclofenac, fenoprofen, gemfibrozil, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen) were measured in municipal wastewater using gas chromatography/ion trap–tandem mass spectroscopy (GC/IT‐MS/MS). Subregional pharmaceutical prescription data were investigated to determine whether they could predict measured effluent concentrations (MECs) in wastewaters. Predicted effluent concentrations (PECs) for 5 of the 7 pharmaceuticals were within 2‐fold agreement of the MECs when the fraction of parent pharmaceutical excreted was not considered. When the fraction of parent pharmaceutical excreted was considered, the respective PECs decreased, and most were within an order of magnitude of the MECs. Regression relationships of monthly PECs versus MECs were statistically significant (p < 0.05) but weak (R2 = 0.18–0.56) for all pharmaceuticals except ketoprofen. This suggests high variability in the data and may be the result of factors influencing MECs such as the analytical methods used, wastewater sampling frequency, and methodology. The PECs were based solely on prescription rates and did not account for inputs of pharmaceuticals that had a significant over‐the‐counter component or were from other sources (e.g., hospitals). Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;9999:1–11. © 2015 SETAC

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