Iris Murray

Project Title: Investigation of the Occurrence of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care products (PPCP) in Sludge & Wastewater samples using Chromatographic Separation Techniques with Mass Spectrometry Detection

Name: Iris Murray BSc.

Supervisor: Dr. Fiona McArdle, Dr. Ted McGowan, Dr. Michael Broaders

The increased use of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in developed countries is becoming a significant environmental concern. The presence of PPCP’s in the environment first became apparent in the mid 1970’s but it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that concerns were raised regarding the impact of their presence and accumulation on both the environment and human and animal health. Over the past decade many studies have been carried out on the prevalence of PPCP’s in wastewater, surface water and ground water.

Recent advances in extraction, chromatographic separation techniques and MS detection have greatly increased the specificity and sensitivity for analyte detection and quantification in complex matrices such as wastewater and sludge’s.

The various classes of pharmaceuticals detected in studies to date include, antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), benzodiazepines, endocrine disruptors and amphetamines. A wide range of drugs of abuse have also been detected in wastewater and surface waters over the past 10 years.

This project aims to examine the occurrence of PPCP in sludge and wastewater samples from wastewater treatment plants in the Northwest of Ireland by;

  • Optimising Chromatographic and Mass Spectrometry conditions for the examination of a range of PPCP.
  • Validation of optimised methods
  • Designing a sampling regime for wastewater and sludge samples
  • Optimising sample preparation and enrichment techniques for a range of PPCP using liquid/liquid extraction & off-line solid phase extraction (SPE).
  • Evaluation of samples and analysis of results
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