Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Winter 2015


Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) pollute our water systems regularly by entering the environment through inefficient methods of water treatment, ineffective sanitation and unregulated industrial and agricultural runoff. Currently, the most common methods of identifying PCPPs are expensive, time consuming and often require the aid of a trained expert. This project aims to further the methodology of utilizing fluorescence spectroscopy as a means of pollutant detection with a focus on contaminant mixtures. Four non-regulated EPA contaminants were fluoresced at compound specific EEM parameters and then again in two component mixtures to determine their limits of detection (LOD). The results were analyzed using Parallel Factor (PARAFAC) analysis to decrease the LOD. The results showed that the LOD of the fluorescence spectrometer could be lowered to environmentally relevant concentrations when paired with PARAFAC analysis. Compound mixtures were detected with equivalent precision and accuracy to single compound solutions. This validates fluorescent spectroscopy paired with PARAFAC analysis as a means of contaminant detection with greater speed, ease and economy. This would allow for real-time decisions concerning water safety which would globally add to the overall health of communities. Further studies should be done to test collected water samples and greater mixture complexity.