Determination of 27 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in water: The benefit of isotope dilution

Research paper by Xueqi Fan, Jie Gao, Wenchao Li, Jun Huang, Gang Yu

Indexed on: 08 Nov '19Published on: 05 Nov '19Published in: Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are a unique group of emerging and nonpersistent contaminants. In this study, 27 PPCPs in various water samples were extracted by solid phase extraction (SPE), and determined by isotope dilution method using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem triple quadruple mass spectrometer (LC-MS/MS). A total of 27 isotopically labeled standards (ILSs) were applied to correct the concentration of PPCPs in spiked ultrapure water, drinking water, river, effluent and influent sewage. The corrected recoveries were 73%–122% with the relative standard deviation (RSD) < 16%, except for acetaminophen. The matrix effect for all kinds of water samples was < 22% and the method quantitation limits (MQLs) were 0.45–8.6 ng/L. The developed method was successfully applied on environmental water samples. The SPE extracts of spiked ultrapure water, drinking water, river and wastewater effluent were stored for 70 days, and the ILSs-corrected recoveries of 27 PPCPs were obtained to evaluate the correction ability of ILSs in the presence of variety interferences. The recoveries of 27 PPCPs over 70 days were within the scope of 72%–140% with the recovery variation < 37% in all cases. The isotope dilution method seems to be of benefit when the extract has to be stored for long time before the instrument analysis.