Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Active pharmaceutical ingredients in Malaysian drinking water: consumption, exposure, and human health risk

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Environmental Geochemistry and Health Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are typical endocrine disruptors found in common pharmaceuticals and personal care products, which are frequently detected in aquatic environments, especially surface water treated for drinking. However, current treatment technologies are inefficient for removing emerging endocrine disruptors, leading to the potential contamination of tap water. This study employed an optimized analytical method comprising solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (SPE–LC–MS/MS) to detect APIs in tap water in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Several therapeutic classes of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, including anti-inflammatory drugs (dexamethasone and diclofenac), antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole and triclosan), antiepileptics (primidone), antibacterial agents (ciprofloxacin), beta-blockers (propranolol), psychoactive stimulants (caffeine), and antiparasitic drugs (diazinon), were detected in the range of < 0.03 to 21.39 ng/L, whereas chloramphenicol (an antibiotic) was below the detection limit (< 0.23 ng/L). A comparison with global data revealed the spatial variability of emerging tap water pollutants. Diclofenac accounted for the highest concentration (21.39 ng/L), followed by triclosan and ciprofloxacin (9.74 ng/L and 8.69 ng/L, respectively). Caffeine was observed in all field samples with the highest distribution at 35.32%. Caffeine and triclosan exhibited significantly different distributions in household tap water (p < 0.05). Humans are exposed to these APIs by drinking the tap water; however, the estimated risk was negligible (risk quotient < 1). APIs are useful water quality monitoring indicators for water resource conservation and water supply safety related to emerging organic contaminants; thus, API detection is important for safeguarding the environment and human health.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Ab Razak, N. H., Praveena, S. M., Aris, A. Z., & Hashim, Z. (2016). Quality of Kelantan drinking water and knowledge, attitude and practice among the population of Pasir Mas, Malaysia. Public Health, 131, 103–111.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Abdullah, M. P., Yew, C. H., & Bin Ramli, M. S. (2003). Formation, modeling and validation of trihalomethanes (THM) in Malaysian drinking water: A case study in the districts of Tampin, Negeri Sembilan and Sabak Bernam, Selangor, Malaysia. Water Research, 37(19), 4637–4644.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ahmad, N., Jaafar, M. S., & Alsaffar, M. S. (2015). Study of radon concentration and toxic elements in drinking and irrigated water and its implications in Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia. Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences, 8(3), 294–299.

    Google Scholar 

  • APVMA. (2017). Acceptable daily intakes (ADI) for agricultural and veterinary chemicals used in food producing crops or animals. Canberra: Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bardosono, S., Prasmusinto, D., Hadiati, D. R., Purwaka, B. T., Morin, C., Pohan, R., et al. (2016). Fluid intake of pregnant and breastfeeding women in Indonesia: A cross-sectional survey with a seven-day fluid specific record. Nutrients, 8(11), 651.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cai, M. Q., Wang, R., Feng, L., & Zhang, L. Q. (2015). Determination of selected pharmaceuticals in tap water and drinking water treatment plant by high-performance liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometer in Beijing, China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 22(3), 1854–1867.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Carmona, E., Andreu, V., & Picó, Y. (2014). Occurrence of acidic pharmaceuticals and personal care products in Turia River Basin: From waste to drinking water. Science of the Total Environment, 484, 53–63.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cherik, D., Benali, M., & Louhab, K. (2015). Occurrence, ecotoxicology, removal of diclofenac by adsorption on activated carbon and biodegradation and its effect on bacterial community: A review. World Scientific News, 10, 116–144.

    Google Scholar 

  • Conley, J. M., Evans, N., Mash, H., Rosenblum, L., Schenck, K., Glassmeyer, S., et al. (2017). Comparison of in vitro estrogenic activity and estrogen concentrations in source and treated waters from 25 US drinking water treatment plants. Science of the Total Environment, 579, 1610–1617.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dai, G., Wang, B., Huang, J., Dong, R., Deng, S., & Yu, G. (2015). Occurrence and source apportionment of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the Beiyun River of Beijing, China. Chemosphere, 119, 1033–1039.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Desai, M., Jellyman, J. K., & Ross, M. G. (2015). Epigenomics, gestational programming and risk of metabolic syndrome. International Journal of Obesity, 39(4), 633–641.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dévier, M. H., Le Menach, K., Viglino, L., Di Gioia, L., Lachassagne, P., & Budzinski, H. (2013). Ultra-trace analysis of hormones, pharmaceutical substances, alkylphenols and phthalates in two French natural mineral waters. Science of the Total Environment, 443, 621–632.

    Google Scholar 

  • Diamanti-Kandarakis, E., Bourguignon, J. P., Giudice, L. C., Hauser, R., Prins, G. S., Soto, A. M., et al. (2009). Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: An Endocrine Society scientific statement. Endocrine Reviews, 30(4), 293–342.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • DOS. (2011). Population distribution and basic demographic characteristic report 2010. Malaysia: Department of Statistics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Esteban, S., Gorga, M., González-Alonso, S., Petrovic, M., Barceló, D., & Valcárcel, Y. (2014). Monitoring endocrine disrupting compounds and estrogenic activity in tap water from Central Spain. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 21(15), 9297–9310.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gabarrón, S., Gernjak, W., Valero, F., Barceló, A., Petrovic, M., & Rodríguez-Roda, I. (2016). Evaluation of emerging contaminants in a drinking water treatment plant using electrodialysis reversal technology. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 309, 192–201.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gaffney, V. D. J., Almeida, C. M., Rodrigues, A., Ferreira, E., Benoliel, M. J., & Cardoso, V. V. (2015). Occurrence of pharmaceuticals in a water supply system and related human health risk assessment. Water Research, 72, 199–208.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gonzalez-Rey, M., Mattos, J. J., Piazza, C. E., Bainy, A. C. D., & Bebianno, M. J. (2014). Effects of active pharmaceutical ingredients mixtures in mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Aquatic Toxicology, 153, 12–26.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Huerta-Fontela, M., Galceran, M. T., & Ventura, F. (2011). Occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals and hormones through drinking water treatment. Water Research, 45(3), 1432–1442.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, S. D., Cho, J., Kim, I. S., Vanderford, B. J., & Snyder, S. A. (2007). Occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in South Korean surface, drinking, and waste waters. Water Research, 41(5), 1013–1021.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kleywegt, S., Pileggi, V., Yang, P., Hao, C., Zhao, X., Rocks, C., et al. (2011). Pharmaceuticals, hormones and bisphenol A in untreated source and finished drinking water in Ontario, Canada-occurrence and treatment efficiency. Science of the Total Environment, 409, 1481–1488.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lardy-Fontan, S., Le Diouron, V., Drouin, C., Lalere, B., Vaslin-Reimann, S., Dauchy, X., et al. (2017). Validation of a method to monitor the occurrence of 20 relevant pharmaceuticals and personal care products in 167 bottled waters. Science of the Total Environment, 587, 118–127.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leung, H. W., Jin, L., Wei, S., Tsui, M. M. P., Zhou, B., Jiao, L., et al. (2013). Pharmaceuticals in tap water: Human health risk assessment and proposed monitoring framework in China. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121(7), 839–846.

    Google Scholar 

  • Li, S. W., & Lin, A. Y. C. (2015). Increased acute toxicity to fish caused by pharmaceuticals in hospital effluents in a pharmaceutical mixture and after solar irradiation. Chemosphere, 139, 190–196.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Li, X., Ying, G. G., Su, H. C., Yang, X. B., & Wang, L. (2010). Simultaneous determination and assessment of 4-nonylphenol, bisphenol A and triclosan in tap water, bottled water and baby bottles. Environment International, 36(6), 557–562.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Li, Z., Lu, G., Yang, X., & Wang, C. (2012). Single and combined effects of selected pharmaceuticals at sublethal concentrations on multiple biomarkers in Carassius auratus. Ecotoxicology, 21, 353–361.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lonappan, L., Brar, S. K., Das, R. K., Verma, M., & Surampalli, R. Y. (2016). Diclofenac and its transformation products: environmental occurrence and toxicity—A review. Environment International, 96, 127–138.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Luo, Y., Guo, W., Ngo, H. H., Nghiem, L. D., Hai, F. I., Zhang, J., et al. (2014). A review on the occurrence of micropollutants in the aquatic environment and their fate and removal during wastewater treatment. Science of the Total Environment, 473, 619–641.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mekonen, S., Argaw, R., Simanesew, A., Houbraken, M., Senaeve, D., Ambelu, A., et al. (2016). Pesticide residues in drinking water and associated risk to consumers in Ethiopia. Chemosphere, 162, 252–260.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • MOH. (2017). Malaysian statistics on medicines (MSOM) 2011–2014. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Health Malaysia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Murray, K. E., Thomas, S. M., & Bodour, A. A. (2010). Prioritizing research for trace pollutants and emerging contaminants in the freshwater environment. Environmental Pollution, 158, 3462–3471.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Omar, T. F. T., Aris, A. Z., Yusoff, F. M., & Mustafa, S. (2017). An improved SPE–LC–MS/MS method for multiclass endocrine disrupting compound determination in tropical estuarine sediments. Talanta, 173, 51–59.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Padhye, L. P., Yao, H., Kung’u, F. T., & Huang, C. H. (2014). Year-long evaluation on the occurrence and fate of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and endocrine disrupting chemicals in an urban drinking water treatment plant. Water Research, 51, 266–276.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Postigo, C., & Richardson, S. D. (2014). Transformation of pharmaceuticals during oxidation/disinfection processes in drinking water treatment. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 279, 461–475.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Praveena, S. M., Shaifuddin, S. N. M., Sukiman, S., Nasir, F. A. M., Hanafi, Z., Kamarudin, N., et al. (2018). Pharmaceuticals residues in selected tropical surface water bodies from Selangor (Malaysia): Occurrence and potential risk assessments. Science of the Total Environment, 642, 230–240.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Prosser, R. S., & Sibley, P. K. (2015). Human health risk assessment of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in plant tissue due to biosolids and manure amendments, and wastewater irrigation. Environment International, 75, 223–233.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Schug, T. T., Janesick, A., Blumberg, B., & Heindel, J. J. (2011). Endocrine disrupting chemicals and disease susceptibility. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 127(3), 204–215.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Simazaki, D., Kubota, R., Suzuki, T., Akiba, M., Nishimura, T., & Kunikane, S. (2015). Occurrence of selected pharmaceuticals at drinking water purification plants in Japan and implications for human health. Water Research, 76, 187–200.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Snyder, S. A. (2008). Occurrence, treatment, and toxicological relevance of EDCs and pharmaceuticals in water. Ozone Science and Engineering, 30, 65–69.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Subedi, B., Codru, N., Dziewulski, D. M., Wilson, L. R., Xue, J., Yun, S., et al. (2015). A pilot study on the assessment of trace organic contaminants including pharmaceuticals and personal care products from on-site wastewater treatment systems along Skaneateles Lake in New York State, USA. Water Research, 72, 28–39.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Thompson, M., Ellison, S. L., & Wood, R. (2002). Harmonized guidelines for single-laboratory validation of methods of analysis (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure and Applied Chemistry, 74, 835–855.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • US EPA (2011). Exposure factors handbook 2011 edition (final). United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. (EPA/600/R-09/052F).

  • Veach, A. M., & Bernot, M. J. (2011). Temporal variation of pharmaceuticals in an urban and agriculturally influenced stream. Science of the Total Environment, 409(21), 4553–4563.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Vulliet, E., Cren-Olivé, C., & Grenier-Loustalot, M. F. (2011). Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and hormones in drinking water treated from surface waters. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 9(1), 103–114.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Webb, S., Ternes, T., Gibert, M., & Olejniczak, K. (2003). Indirect human exposure to pharmaceuticals via drinking water. Toxicology Letters, 142(3), 157–167.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wee, S. Y., & Aris, A. Z. (2017). Endocrine disrupting compounds in drinking water supply system and human health risk implication. Environment International, 106, 207–233.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wee, S. Y., & Aris, A. Z. (2019). Occurrence and public-perceived risk of endocrine disrupting compounds in drinking water. npj Clean Water, 2, 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wee, S. Y., Aris, A. Z., Yusoff, F. M., & Praveena, S. M. (2019). Occurrence and risk assessment of multiclass endocrine disrupting compounds in an urban tropical river and a proposed risk management and monitoring framework. Science of the Total Environment, 671, 431–442.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wee, S. Y., Tuan Omar, T. F., Aris, A. Z., & Lee, Y. (2016). Surface water organophosphorus pesticides concentration and distribution in the Langat River, Selangor, Malaysia. Exposure and Health, 8, 497–511.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • WHO. (2011a). Pharmaceuticals in drinking-water. Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

  • WHO. (2011b). the world medicines situation report. Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilkinson, J. L., Hooda, P. S., Barker, J., Barton, S., & Swinden, J. (2016). Ecotoxic pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other emerging contaminants: A review of environmental, receptor-mediated, developmental, and epigenetic toxicity with discussion of proposed toxicity to humans. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 46(4), 336–381.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Research funding by the Ministry of Education (MOE) under Trans-Disciplinary Research Grant Scheme [TRGS/2016/5535710], Universiti Putra Malaysia [GP-IPS/2017/9574600], and the Ministry of Science and Technology South Korea through the International Environmental Research Institute (IERI) of Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) [IERI/2019] is gratefully acknowledged. S.Y. Wee would like to thank Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) awarded by Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ahmad Zaharin Aris.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wee, S.Y., Haron, D.E.M., Aris, A.Z. et al. Active pharmaceutical ingredients in Malaysian drinking water: consumption, exposure, and human health risk. Environ Geochem Health 42, 3247–3261 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-020-00565-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-020-00565-8

Keywords

Navigation