Title
The stability of illicit drugs and metabolites in wastewater, an important issue for sewage epidemiology?
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
Amsterdam ,
Subject
Chemistry
Biology
Pharmacology. Therapy
Source (journal)
Journal of hazardous materials. - Amsterdam
Volume/pages
239(2012) , p. 19-23
ISSN
0304-3894
ISI
000310763600002
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The stability of nine illicit drugs and metabolites in influent wastewater at relevant conditions (20 °C and at pH 7.5) was evaluated during 26 h (in 1 h intervals) to assess whether significant in-sewer processes of degradation or formation occur. This assessment is important for the sewage epidemiology approach, which uses concentrations of illicit drugs and metabolites in influent wastewater to back-calculate amounts of these substances used by a community or population. The results of this study showed that amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and EDDP (metabolite of methadone) are stable in wastewater for 12 h and longer. For benzoylecgonine and methadone, a modest formation in the course of time was observed (0.2% per h and 0.4% per h, respectively), while for cocaine (40% degradation after 12 h), ecgonine methylester (20% degradation after 12 h), and 6-monoacetylmorphine (20% degradation after 12 h), a clear decrease in concentrations in time was seen. These findings suggest that for compounds with a significant stability issue, it is important to take their behavior into account when performing back-calculations in sewage epidemiology. However, this study also highlights the need of future research regarding transformation pathways of the individual compounds.
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