PharmaSolutions: Behind the Commercial 

by Lizzy Lee and Allison Rodgers

Team Flame Retardants here: it has been a very exciting semester trying to find polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in sediment and water samples. We tried 3 different extraction methods: microwave accelerated reaction system (top), liquid-liquid extraction (second, with Clayton Bloszies in action), and sonication (third). After analyzing several different sediment samples and one water sample but finding no PBDEs, we decided to (ummm…) see if we could extract flame retardants from various couches on Haverford’s campus (bottom, dorm couch post-sampling). The results: PBDEs potentially found!!! So even though Team Flame Retardants did not find any flame retardants (or abandoned couches) in the Delaware River for this study, we did determine that it is possible to detect PBDEs using GCMS if they are present in large enough quantities.

Future directions: collecting samples from other parts of the Delaware River for analysis and/or extracting every couch on campus for flame retardants (Clay’s thesis topic?)

Global Connections: Oil

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Explore some possible sources of oil in the river and trace connections to regional and global industries, as well as the social, environmental, and political implications.

There are two ways to navigate the map: 1. follow our narrative by clicking through the way points (table of contents box on the right) or 2. explore points on your own. Navigate around the map and use the bold-faced text within the waypoints to direct your exploration.

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We crushed 17 birth control tablets conatining 0.03 mg of Ethinyl Estradiol each to have standard data to compare to our water and sediment samples.

We crushed 17 birth control tablets conatining 0.03 mg of Ethinyl Estradiol each to have standard data to compare to our water and sediment samples.

Solvents containing compounds extracted from our sediment samples. We did not find any ethinyl estradiol in these samples but other students did see some cholesterol and coprostanol.

Solvents containing compounds extracted from our sediment samples. We did not find any ethinyl estradiol in these samples but other students did see some cholesterol and coprostanol.

Global Connections: Codeine

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Use this interactive map to navigate the presence of Codeine from Siegfried Ltd. within the Delaware River. There are two ways to navigate the map: 1. follow the waypoints (the table of contents styled box on the right) or 2. explore on your own!

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A Sample

by Christine Dickerson, Caleb Eckert, and Cormac Rada

Setup of solid phase extraction. Samples from the Delaware were passed through via a vacuum (black hose) which pulled the sample (top beaker) through a filter (brown disk beneath clamp). Compounds of interest were collected on the filter.

Setup of solid phase extraction. Samples from the Delaware were passed through via a vacuum (black hose) which pulled the sample (top beaker) through a filter (brown disk beneath clamp). Compounds of interest were collected on the filter.

Flow: Birth Control and The Delaware River

By Hannah Figa

Pharmaceuticals

Our project this quarter began with sediment and water samples obtained from various sources along the Delaware. These samples were analyzed by MARS and liquid-liquid extraction techniques, but yielded no traces of ibuprofen. We then crushed up an Advil tablet as a positive control, which provided us with a reference for additional testing, and confirmed that our previous methods had been carried out correctly. Besides lots of ibuprofen, our reference sample also contained tetradecanoic acid and hexadecanoic acid, which are fatty acids that are presumably found in the coating of Advil tablets. We resorted to a third technique, solid-phase extraction, which yielded compounds that were similar to our ibuprofen reference. However, we concluded that we would need a much larger water sample (> 4L) in order to correctly detect the presence of ibuprofen in the Delaware with our current machinery. This fact proved to be the most interesting find of the quarter because it illustrates that pharmaceuticals are found in very low concentrations in the river. Further digging into published literature illuminated that pharmaceuticals are an emerging contaminant, and currently in low concentrations that do not pose any mutagenic threats to aquatic and human life. With this said, it is still imperative to remove as many pharmaceuticals from the river as possible, for their additive effects may become lethal, especially to inhabitants of the Delaware River.

Global Connections: Birth Control

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Explore how estrogen from birth control pills end up in the river. Trace possible connections to a major producer of birth control pills and to regional and global industies, as well as the social, environmental, and political implications.

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Troubled Waters  by Leyla Yenirce

SuperLab Chemistry students in action at the Delaware River Estuary.

Global Connections: Flame Retardants

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Explore how the flame retardants in mattresses and other common household items end up in the river. Trace connections to local and regional industries and explore the social, environmental, and political implications.

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