Analysis of pharmaceuticals in water by isotope dilution liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry

Brett J. Vanderford, Shane A. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

370 Scopus citations


A method has been developed for the trace analysis of 15 pharmaceuticals, four metabolites of pharmaceuticals, three potential endocrine disruptors, and one personal care product in various waters. The method employs solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), using electrospray ionization (ESI) in both positive and negative modes. Unlike many previous LC-MS/MS methods, which suffer from matrix suppression, this method uses isotope dilution for each compound to correct for matrix suppression, as well as SPE losses and instrument variability. The method was tested in five matrices, and results indicate that the method is very robust. Matrix spike recoveries for all compounds were between 88 and 106% for wastewater influent, 85 and 108% for wastewater effluent, 72 and 105% for surface water impacted by wastewater, 96 and 113% for surface water, and 91 and 116% for drinking water. The method reporting limits for all compounds were between 0.25 and 1.0 ng/L, based on 500 mL of sample extracted and a final extract volume of 500 μL. Occurrence of the compounds in all five matrices is also reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7312-7320
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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