Quantification of Active Ingredient Losses from Formulating Pharmaceutical Industries and Contribution to Wastewater Treatment Plant Emissions
- Journal Article
In this work, emissions of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from formulating pharmaceutical industries (FPIs) were investigated for the first time based on detailed production information and compared to overall API emissions in wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. At two municipal WWTPs, both receiving wastewater from several FPIs, two months’ daily effluent samples were collected and measured using liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). Thirty-three APIs formulated during the sampling period as well as >120 organic contaminants commonly present in WWTP effluents were quantified. On the basis of their time patterns and manufacturing data, industrial contributions were found for 22 of 26 APIs (85%) detected in the samples and processed by the FPIs. API emissions from FPIs led to daily concentration increases of up to 300-fold, despite pretreatment of the industrial wastewater. However, emissions from FPIs seemed to depend on the type of formulating activity, with granulation and mixing being most prone to API losses. Losses from FPIs were responsible for the highest concentrations and for up to 60% of the daily total API emissions measured. Furthermore, screening for suspects in LC-HRMS data resulted in the detection of unexpected emissions from FPIs, demonstrating the value of these data to comprehensively assess industrial API losses. Overall, this study showed that FPIs were relevant contributors of APIs emitted in the WWTP effluents, although only a minor fraction (<1%) of the total processed API quantity was lost to the wastewater, and despite the small percentage (<5%) of FPI wastewater compared to the total wastewater flow. © 2020 American Chemical Society Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Science & Technology
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
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