This work determines the principal environmental pollution pathways of pharmaceuticals on the island of Mallorca (Spain). The evaluation was made on the basis of the quantification of pharmaceutical residues by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry in several environmental water samples, including wastewater-treatment plant effluents, municipal solid waste landfill leachates, groundwater (GW), and marine water. An overall set of 19 pharmaceuticals has been identified in the environment of the 27 human pharmaceuticals investigated in this study. WWTP effluents are the main source of discharge of the pharmaceuticals into the aquatic environment. The data indicate that reuse of treated domestic wastewater for irrigation (which supplies some 30 % of the total water demand in Mallorca) contributes to the contamination of GW. In addition, leaching from landfills is identified as another, but minor, possible source of introduction of pharmaceuticals to GW aquifers. Finally, WWTP effluents ending in the Mediterranean Sea, primarily highly urbanized coastal areas, cause pharmaceutical residues to occur in marine water bodies.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2013, Vol 61, Issue 1, p. 56-66
27 human pharmaceuticals; environmental water samples; principal environmental pollution pathways; The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences