John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Drug residues in compartments of the aquatic environment Volume 5, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2006


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Laboratoire de physico-toxicochimie des systèmes naturels (LPTC), Unité mixte de recherche (UMR) 5472 Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Bordeaux 1, 351, cours de la Libération, 33405 Talence
  • Key words: analysis, drug residues, pharmaceutical preparation, water, water pollution
  • Page(s) : 248-53
  • Published in: 2006

Pharmaceuticals are defined as emerging contaminants, but have been little studied in natural environments. When these widespread synthetic compounds, created specifically to have biological effects, are consumed in large quantities, they are introduced into the aquatic environment via sewage treatment plants. After we developed analytical protocols (dissolved and particulate phases), we conducted an initial assessment of the contamination of different aquatic systems (Seine, Gironde, Loire, Adour and Mediterranean coastal areas). Those procedures (including GC/MS, microwave-assisted extraction, and solid phase extraction) allowed us to show real contamination by pharmaceuticals of these aquatic systems. Measured concentrations fluctuate between a few nanograms per liter to dozens of micrograms per liter, depending on the compound, sampling station, and season. This work clearly shows that the dissolved phase is the most heavily contaminated, but that particulate and sedimentary phases may also play a substantial role in the spread of pharmaceuticals in aquatic systems.