Rapid quantification of pharmaceuticals and pesticides in passive samplers using ultra high performance liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT The presence of both pharmaceuticals and pesticides in the aquatic environment has become a well-known environmental issue during the last decade. An increasing demand however still exists for sensitive and reliable monitoring tools for these rather polar contaminants in the marine environment. In recent years, the great potential of passive samplers or equilibrium based sampling techniques for evaluation of the fate of these contaminants has been shown in literature. Therefore, we developed a new analytical method for the quantification of a high number of pharmaceuticals and pesticides in passive sampling devices. The analytical procedure consisted of extraction using 1:1 methanol/acetonitrile followed by detection with ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution and high mass accuracy Orbitrap mass spectrometry. Validation of the analytical method resulted in limits of quantification and recoveries ranging between 0.2 and 20 ng per sampler sheet and between 87.9 and 105.2%, respectively. Determination of the sampler-water partition coefficients of all compounds demonstrated that several pharmaceuticals and most pesticides exert a high affinity for the polydimethylsiloxane passive samplers. Finally, the developed analytical methods were used to measure the time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations of the targeted pollutants in passive samplers, deployed at eight stations in the Belgian coastal zone. Propranolol, carbamazepine and seven pesticides were found to be very abundant in the passive samplers. These obtained long-term and large-scale TWA concentrations will contribute in assessing the environmental and human health risk of these emerging pollutants.