Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and hormones in drinking water treated from surface waters

Abstract : The levels of a wide variety of pharmaceuticals and hormones, in source and potable-water supplies of French drinking water treatment plants, were assessed. In surface waters, 27 of the 51 target compounds were determined at least once. Paracetamol, salicylic acid and carbamazepine were quantified in more than 80% of samples. The highest concentration of 71 ng/L was observed for paracetamol. Twelve other substances were widely found in the surface waters studied, contaminating between 33 and 80% of the samples. These compounds include analgesics, psychotropic drugs, antibiotics and beta-blockers consistent with the French consumption, as well as natural hormones (oestrone, progesterone and androgens) and synthetic progestatives. In drinking water supplies, 25 compounds were also present, salicylic acid being the most frequently detected. Carbamazepine and the β-blocker atenolol found at lower levels (maximum 2 ng/L), are also present in more than 30% of the contaminated drinking waters. The pharmaceuticals exhibit different reactivity towards the treatments, while progestagens and androgens seem resistant to most of them. The effectiveness of the treatments is discussed, as well as the consequences of the presence of all these compounds on human health. This is the first time that such a long list of compounds (51) is proposed to assessment, and consequently this study provides the first data on pharmaceuticals and steroids occurrences in French drinking waters and represents a basis for the assessment of risks for humans. Moreover, at the international level, this is the first time that so many substances are quantified in drinking water, due to the very low detection limits, especially in the case of the hormones.
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Emmanuelle Vulliet, Cécile Cren-Olivé, Marie-Florence Grenier-Loustalot. Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and hormones in drinking water treated from surface waters. Environmental Chemistry Letters, Springer Verlag, 2011, 9 (1), pp.103-114. 〈10.1007/s10311-009-0253-7〉. 〈hal-00509280〉



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