The Problem with PPCPs
Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are products used for personal health or cosmetic reasons. This category includes a broad group of chemical substances such as human and veterinary medicines and cosmetics. The presence of PPCPs in environmental and potable water is a widespread concern due to the potentially harmful environmental effects. Evidence suggests PPCPs are linked to some ecological damage such as the delayed development in fish (1).
To ensure the safety of water, PPCP concentrations are stringently monitored by environmental regulatory bodies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) (2). Detection of PPCPs is traditionally a complicated process due to the range of substances potentially present. Here we explore a simple, more convenient method than traditional solid phase extraction (SPE) based methods for highly sensitive PPCP detection, using triple quadrupole liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS-MS).Detecting PPCPs
Conventional methods of PPCP detection in clean water have followed the defined EPA 1694 "template" for analysis which requires the pre-concentration of large volume water samples and tedious solid phase extraction cleanup, followed by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis in order to achieve the low ng/L (ppt) level detection necessary to comply with regulations (3).
Case Study: Using LC–MS-MS to Analyze PPCPs in Clean Water
(1) K. Hirsch, "Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products," (2013). Available at: http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/pharmaceutical.html.
(2) US EPA, "PPCPs Basic Information," (2010). Available at: http://www.epa.gov/ppcp/basic2.html.
(3) US EPA, "EPA Method 1694: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Water, Soil, Sediment, and Biosolids by HPLC/MS/MS," (2007).
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