Emerging Contaminants in Brazil Drinking and Source Waters

Machado KC, Grassi MT, Vidal C, Pescara IC, Jardim WF, Fernandes AN, Sodré FF, Almeida FV, Santana JS, Canela MC, Nunes CR, Bichinho KM, Severo FJ. A preliminary nationwide survey of the presence of emerging contaminants in drinking and source waters in Brazil. The Science of the total environment. 2016 Aug 2;572:138-146. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.07.210.

This is the first nationwide survey of emerging contaminants in Brazilian waters. One hundred drinking water samples were investigated in 22 Brazilian state capitals. In addition, seven source water samples from two of the most populous regions of the country were evaluated. Samples were collected from June to September of 2011 and again during the same period in 2012. The study covered emerging contaminants of different classes, including hormones, plasticizers, herbicides, triclosan and caffeine. The analytical method for the determination of the compounds was based on solid-phase extraction followed by analysis via liquid chromatography electrospray triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Caffeine, triclosan, atrazine, phenolphthalein and bisphenol A were found in at least one of the samples collected in the two sampling campaigns. Caffeine and atrazine were the most frequently detected substances in both drinking and source water. Caffeine concentrations in drinking water ranged from 1.8ngL-1 to values above 2.0μgL-1 while source-water concentrations varied from 40ngL-1 to about 19μgL-1. For atrazine, concentrations were found in the range from 2.0 to 6.0ngL-1 in drinking water and at concentrations of up to 15ngL-1 in source water. The widespread presence of caffeine in samples of treated water is an indication of the presence of domestic sewage in the source water, considering that caffeine is a compound of anthropogenic origin.

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