Occurrence and phase distribution of selected pharmaceuticals in the Yangtze Estuary and its coastal zone

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Journal Article
Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2011, 190 (1-3), pp. 588 - 596
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The occurrence and geochemical behavior of nine pharmaceutical compounds were investigated along the Yangtze River Estuary and its coastal area, by sampling and analysis of pharmaceuticals in sediment, suspended particulate matter (SPM), colloidal and soluble phases. In addition, the impact of sewage input was examined by sampling from sewage treatment plants (STP) effluent and its upstream and downstream in the Yangtze River. Although at relatively low concentrations in SPM and sediments, several pharmaceuticals were found at elevated concentration in filtered water samples from STP-affected sites. STP is therefore an important input of pharmaceuticals in the study area. Colloidal phase was further separated from bulk water samples using cross-flow ultrafiltration (CFUF), confirming it being an effective sorbent for pharmaceuticals with high sorption capacity which are 2-4 orders of magnitude higher than SPM. Moreover, mass balance calculations showed that significant percentages of selected pharmaceutical compounds were associated with aquatic colloids, indicating colloids as a reservoir for these contaminants in the Yangtze estuarine system. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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