Enantiomer profiling of high loads of amphetamine and MDMA in communal sewage: a Dutch perspective

Erik Emke, S. Evans, B. Kasprzyk-Hordern, Pim de Voogt

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77 Citations (SciVal)


Analysis of wastewater with an aim of community-wide estimation of drug use is a new and very promising approach. Until now it was very difficult to determine if mass loads of studied drugs were actually originating from consumption, or disposal of unused drugs or production waste. This uncertainty in the estimation of community wide drugs use should not be underestimated. This paper aims to apply for the first time enantiomeric profiling in verifying sources of the presence of MDMA and amphetamine in wastewater based on a case study in two Dutch cities: Utrecht and Eindhoven. The results showed that MDMA is usually present in wastewater due to its consumption (MDMA enriched with R(-)-enantiomer). Excessively high mass loads of MDMA during a sampling campaign in Utrecht in 2011 proved to be racemic indicating direct disposal of unused MDMA possibly as a result of a police raid at a nearby illegal production facility. Enantiomeric profiling was also undertaken in order to verify the origin of unexpectedly high mass loads of amphetamine in the city of Eindhoven in 2011. Unfortunately, a distinction between consumption and direct disposal of unused amphetamine in Dutch wastewater could not be achieved. Further work will have to be undertaken to fully understand sources of amphetamine in Dutch wastewaters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-672
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date28 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014


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