Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical that has been detected in natural and engineered aquatic environments. The primary aim of this research was to study chemical transformations of naproxen following chlorine oxidation, which is common in water and wastewater treatment systems. Synthetic waters containing elevated concentrations of naproxen were oxidized by free chlorine at naproxen:chlorine molar ratios of 0.02-3:1 and pH values of 5-9. The formation of naproxen products was dependent on pH, chlorine dosage and contact time. This study demonstrates that naproxen readily reacts with free chlorine and forms disinfection products. The formation of specific reaction products can vary depending on the characteristics of the water or wastewater and treatment operating conditions. More research is needed to identify intermediate and chemical reaction end products and to understand the reaction kinetics of naproxen chlorination for a range of water and wastewater treatment conditions. A secondary aim of this research was to study effects of naproxen and its chlorination products on biofilm processes, which are common in water and wastewater treatment systems and natural aquatic environments. A bioreactor was fed a naproxen solution and then fed a solution at the same naproxen concentration following contact with free chlorine. Results indicate that naproxen was not degraded biologically for the conditions of this study. In contrast, the naproxen solution containing products of chlorination caused an adverse response by discharging biomass from the bioreactor. Results therefore demonstrate that naproxen products of chlorination can adversely affect a biofilm process, which potentially can impact the performance of biofilm processes in natural and engineered aquatic environments. More research is needed to study naproxen chlorination reactions at low concentrations and in complex matrices, and to understand the toxicological relevance of naproxen and its products of chlorination in natural and engineered aquatic environments. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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