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Pilot Monitoring Study Of Ibuprofen In Surface Waters Of North Of Portugal

P. Paíga, L. Santos, C. Amorim, A. Araújo, M. C. Montenegro, A. Pena, C. Delerue-Matos
Published 2012 · Environmental Science, Medicine

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Ibuprofen is amongst the most worldwide consumed pharmaceuticals. The present work presents the first data in the occurrence of ibuprofen in Portuguese surface waters, focusing in the north area of the country, which is one of the most densely populated areas of Portugal. Analysis of ibuprofen is based on pre-concentration of the analyte with solid phase extraction and subsequent determination with liquid chromatography coupled to fluorescence detection. A total of 42 water samples, including surface waters, landfill leachates, Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), and hospital effluents, were analyzed in order to evaluate the occurrence of ibuprofen in the north of Portugal. In general, the highest concentrations were found in the river mouths and in the estuarine zone. The maximum concentrations found were 48,720 ng L−1 in the landfill leachate, 3,868 ng L−1 in hospital effluent, 616 ng L−1 in WWTP effluent, and 723 ng L−1 in surface waters (Lima river). Environmental risk assessment was evaluated and at the measured concentrations only landfill leachates reveal potential ecotoxicological risk for aquatic organisms. Owing to a high consumption rate of ibuprofen among Portuguese population, as prescribed and non-prescribed medicine, the importance of hospitals, WWTPs, and landfills as sources of entrance of pharmaceuticals in the environment was pointed out. Landfill leachates showed the highest contribution for ibuprofen mass loading into surface waters. On the basis of our findings, more studies are needed as an attempt to assess more vulnerable areas.
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