Evaluation of the presence of drugs of abuse in tap waters.
ABSTRACT A total of seventy samples of drinking water were tested for non-controlled and illicit drugs. Of these, 43 were from Spanish cities, 15 from seven other European countries, three from Japan and nine from seven different Latin American countries. The most frequently detected compounds were caffeine, nicotine, cotinine, cocaine and its metabolite benzoylecgonine, methadone and its metabolite EDDP. The mean concentrations of non-controlled drugs were: for caffeine 50 and 19 ng L(-1), in Spanish and worldwide drinking water respectively and for nicotine 13 and 19 ng L(-1). Illicit drugs were sparsely present and usually at ultratrace level (<1 ng L(-1)). For example, cocaine has mean values of 0.4 (Spain) and 0.3 ng L(-1) (worldwide), whereas for benzoylecgonine, these mean values were 0.4 and 1.8 ng L(-1), respectively. Higher concentrations of benzoylecgonine were found in Latin American samples (up to 15 ng L(-1)). No opiates were identified in any sample but the presence of methadone and EDDP was frequently detected. Total mean values for EDDP were 0.4 ng L(-1) (Spain) and 0.3 ng L(-1) (worldwide). Very few samples tested positive for amphetamines, in line with the reactivity of chlorine with these compounds. No cannabinoids, LSD, ketamine, fentanyl and PCP were detected.