Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Passive Samplers at Seven Coastal Sites off West Maui, Hawai‘i

Open-File Report 2022-1065
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health
By: , and 



Passive membrane samplers—semipermeable membrane devices and polar organic chemical integrative samplers—were deployed for 22 continuous days at 7 sites along the West Maui, Hawaiʻi, coastline in February and March 2017 to assess organic contaminants at shallow coral reef ecosystems from diverse upstream inputs. The distribution of organic compounds observed at these coastal sites showed considerable variability; high concentrations of microbially sourced organic compounds observed at all sites, with pentadecane as the predominant normal alkane, showed the relative importance of marine and microbial organic matter to the coastal carbon pool. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products, as well as flame retardants, were also detected at all sites. Of the seven sites sampled, the Kahekili Beach Park site had the highest number of unique contaminants and the Honokōwai Stream site had the highest concentrations of compounds. Two individual compounds, a flame retardant and a fragrance, were ubiquitous across the studied West Maui reefs, including at the least-developed site. A direct correlation to upstream land-use practices or legacy agricultural inputs was not readily observed since polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides were not detected. Results provide a snapshot of relative contaminant abundances as well as inputs to select nearshore environments along the West Maui coastline captured during the 2017 wet season, which was drier than expected. These data can be useful for understanding the range of stressors potentially affecting nearshore ecosystems, such as groundwater inputs and watershed runoff.

Suggested Citation

Campbell, P.L., Prouty, N.G., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2022, Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in passive samplers at seven coastal sites off West Maui, Hawaiʻi: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2022–1065, 14 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments 
  • Abstract 
  • Introduction 
  • Study Sites 
  • Approach 
  • Analytical Methods 
  • Results and Discussion 
  • Summary
  • References Cited 
  • Appendix 1. Supplemental Data of Polar Organic Contaminants
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in passive samplers at seven coastal sites off West Maui, Hawaiʻi:
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2022-1065
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221065
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description vii, 12 p.
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Maui
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details