Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4393–4403 | Cite as

Environmental photochemical fate and UVC degradation of sodium levothyroxine in aqueous medium

  • Marcela Prado Silva PariziEmail author
  • Arlen Mabel Lastre Acosta
  • Hamilton Mitsugu Ishiki
  • Renata Calciolari Rossi
  • Renata Cristina Mafra
  • Antonio Carlos Silva Costa Teixeira
Advanced Oxidation Technologies: State-of-the-Art in Ibero-American Countries


The synthetic hormone sodium levothyroxine (LTX) is one of the most prescribed drugs in the world and the most effective in hypothyroidism treatment. The presence of LTX in the environment has become a matter of major concern due to the widespread use of this hormone and by the fact that it is only partially removed in conventional water and sewage treatment plants. However, information regarding the photochemical fate of this hormone in environmental or engineered systems is scarce in the literature. In this work, the sunlight-driven direct and indirect LTX degradation was investigated by determining the photolysis quantum yield, ΦLTX = 3.80 (± 0.02) × 10−5, as well as the second-order kinetic constants of the reactions with hydroxyl radicals, kLTX,•OH = 1.50 (± 0.01) × 1010 L mol−1 s−1 and singlet oxygen, kLTX,1O2 = 1.47 (± 0.66) × 108 L mol−1 s−1. Mathematical simulations indicate that LTX photodegradation is favored in shallow, nitrite-rich, and dissolved organic matter (DOM)-poor environments, with LTX half-life times varying from less than 10 days to about 80 days. LTX removals of 85 and 95% were achieved by UVC photolysis and UVC/H2O2 after 120 min, respectively. Three transformation products, triiodothyronine, diiodothyronine, and diiodotyrosine, were identified during LTX degradation by the UVC-based processes studied. The results herein regarding photo-induced kinetics coupled with environmental fate simulations may help evaluate LTX persistence and also the design of water and wastewater treatment processes.


Sodium levothyroxine Environmental photochemical fate Advanced oxidation processes Endocrine disruptors Reactive oxygen species Mathematical simulations 


Funding information

The authors thank the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, grant #2013/50218-2) for the financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2907_MOESM1_ESM.docx (424 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 423 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcela Prado Silva Parizi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arlen Mabel Lastre Acosta
    • 2
  • Hamilton Mitsugu Ishiki
    • 3
  • Renata Calciolari Rossi
    • 3
  • Renata Cristina Mafra
    • 3
  • Antonio Carlos Silva Costa Teixeira
    • 2
  1. 1.Energy Engineering DepartmentSão Paulo State University (UNESP)RosanaBrazil
  2. 2.Research Group in Advanced Oxidation Processes, Chemical Systems Engineering Center, Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Environment and Regional DevelopmentUniversity of Western São Paulo (Unoeste)Presidente PrudenteBrazil

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