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Drugs of abuse and their metabolites in the Ebro River basin: occurrence in sewage and surface water, sewage treatment plants removal efficiency, and collective drug usage estimation.
Environ Int 2010; 36(1):75-84EI

Abstract

Drugs of abuse and their metabolites have been recently recognized as environmental emerging organic contaminants. Assessment of their concentration in different environmental compartments is essential to evaluate their potential ecotoxicological effects. It also constitutes an indirect tool to estimate drug abuse by the population at the community level. The present work reports for the first time the occurrence of drugs of abuse and metabolites residues along the Ebro River basin (NE Spain) and also evaluates the contribution of sewage treatment plants (STPs) effluents to the presence of these chemicals in natural surface waters. Concentrations measured in influent sewage waters were used to back calculate drug usage at the community level in the main urban areas of the investigated river basin. The most ubiquitous and abundant compounds in the studied aqueous matrices were cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ephedrine and ecstasy. Lysergic compounds, heroin, its metabolite 6-monoacetyl morphine, and Delta(9)-tetradhydrocannabinol were the substances less frequently detected. Overall, total levels of the studied illicit drugs and metabolites observed in surface water (in the low ng/L range) were one and two orders of magnitude lower than those determined in effluent (in the ng/L range) and influent sewage water (microg/L range), respectively. The investigated STPs showed overall removal efficiencies between 45 and 95%. Some compounds, such as cocaine and amphetamine, were very efficiently eliminated (>90%) whereas others, such as ecstasy, methamphetamine, nor-LSD, and THC-COOH where occasionally not eliminated at all. Drug consumption estimates pointed out cocaine as the most abused drug, followed by cannabis, amphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine, which slightly differs from national official estimates (cannabis, followed by cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and heroin). Extrapolation of the consumption data obtained for the studied area to Spain points out a total annual consumption of drugs of abuse of the order of 36 tonnes, which would translate into 1100million Euros in the black market.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, C/Jordi Girona, 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: cprqam@cid.csic.es.Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, C/Jordi Girona, 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, C/Jordi Girona, 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain; Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), Emili Grahit 101, Edifici H(2)O, Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la Universitat de Girona, E-17003, Girona, Spain.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19913915

Citation

Postigo, Cristina, et al. "Drugs of Abuse and Their Metabolites in the Ebro River Basin: Occurrence in Sewage and Surface Water, Sewage Treatment Plants Removal Efficiency, and Collective Drug Usage Estimation." Environment International, vol. 36, no. 1, 2010, pp. 75-84.
Postigo C, López de Alda MJ, Barceló D. Drugs of abuse and their metabolites in the Ebro River basin: occurrence in sewage and surface water, sewage treatment plants removal efficiency, and collective drug usage estimation. Environ Int. 2010;36(1):75-84.
Postigo, C., López de Alda, M. J., & Barceló, D. (2010). Drugs of abuse and their metabolites in the Ebro River basin: occurrence in sewage and surface water, sewage treatment plants removal efficiency, and collective drug usage estimation. Environment International, 36(1), pp. 75-84. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2009.10.004.
Postigo C, López de Alda MJ, Barceló D. Drugs of Abuse and Their Metabolites in the Ebro River Basin: Occurrence in Sewage and Surface Water, Sewage Treatment Plants Removal Efficiency, and Collective Drug Usage Estimation. Environ Int. 2010;36(1):75-84. PubMed PMID: 19913915.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Drugs of abuse and their metabolites in the Ebro River basin: occurrence in sewage and surface water, sewage treatment plants removal efficiency, and collective drug usage estimation. AU - Postigo,Cristina, AU - López de Alda,María José, AU - Barceló,Damià, Y1 - 2009/11/13/ PY - 2009/08/13/received PY - 2009/10/08/revised PY - 2009/10/13/accepted PY - 2009/11/17/entrez PY - 2009/11/17/pubmed PY - 2010/1/15/medline SP - 75 EP - 84 JF - Environment international JO - Environ Int VL - 36 IS - 1 N2 - Drugs of abuse and their metabolites have been recently recognized as environmental emerging organic contaminants. Assessment of their concentration in different environmental compartments is essential to evaluate their potential ecotoxicological effects. It also constitutes an indirect tool to estimate drug abuse by the population at the community level. The present work reports for the first time the occurrence of drugs of abuse and metabolites residues along the Ebro River basin (NE Spain) and also evaluates the contribution of sewage treatment plants (STPs) effluents to the presence of these chemicals in natural surface waters. Concentrations measured in influent sewage waters were used to back calculate drug usage at the community level in the main urban areas of the investigated river basin. The most ubiquitous and abundant compounds in the studied aqueous matrices were cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ephedrine and ecstasy. Lysergic compounds, heroin, its metabolite 6-monoacetyl morphine, and Delta(9)-tetradhydrocannabinol were the substances less frequently detected. Overall, total levels of the studied illicit drugs and metabolites observed in surface water (in the low ng/L range) were one and two orders of magnitude lower than those determined in effluent (in the ng/L range) and influent sewage water (microg/L range), respectively. The investigated STPs showed overall removal efficiencies between 45 and 95%. Some compounds, such as cocaine and amphetamine, were very efficiently eliminated (>90%) whereas others, such as ecstasy, methamphetamine, nor-LSD, and THC-COOH where occasionally not eliminated at all. Drug consumption estimates pointed out cocaine as the most abused drug, followed by cannabis, amphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine, which slightly differs from national official estimates (cannabis, followed by cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and heroin). Extrapolation of the consumption data obtained for the studied area to Spain points out a total annual consumption of drugs of abuse of the order of 36 tonnes, which would translate into 1100million Euros in the black market. SN - 1873-6750 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19913915/Drugs_of_abuse_and_their_metabolites_in_the_Ebro_River_basin:_occurrence_in_sewage_and_surface_water_sewage_treatment_plants_removal_efficiency_and_collective_drug_usage_estimation_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0160-4120(09)00210-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -