Selected Pharmaceuticals in Different Aquatic Compartments: Part I—Source, Fate and Occurrence

These results present a broad and specialized background, enabling a complete overview on the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic compartments

André Pereira; Liliana Silva; Célia Laranjeiro; Celeste Lino; Angelina Pena

2020

Scholarcy highlights

  • Human pharmaceuticals, presenting different characteristics and, producing different environmental exposure profiles, represent a group of widely used chemicals that contaminate the aquatic environment
  • The main source of pharmaceuticals residues in the aquatic environment is human excretion, and the widespread presence of pharmaceuticals in environmental samples is most likely to occur from wastewater treatment plants, which incompletely remove these compounds
  • Pharmaceuticals are released into the environment as parent compounds, metabolites, as well as transformation products, leading to the contamination of surface waters, seawaters, groundwater and even some drinking waters already identified by new analytical methodologies which allowed the detection at low ng L−1
  • As mentioned, some studies indicate that physicochemical properties set the efficiency of removal of pharmaceuticals in WWTPs, the literature review performed showed that the target compounds present very different removal rates, ranging between negative and high removal rates, and no obvious pattern in behavior was observed, even within the same therapeutic group, implying
  • As mentioned, some studies indicate that physicochemical properties set the efficiency of removal of pharmaceuticals in WWTPs, the literature review performed showed that the target compounds present very different removal rates, ranging between negative and high removal rates, and no obvious pattern in behavior was observed, even within the same therapeutic group, implying that factors other than compound-specific properties affect removal efficiency
  • Regarding SSRIs, even though they all belong to the same group, the average removal efficiencies range from 39% to 75%, with ESC, PAR and SER presenting lower values, below 55%, when compared to CIT and FLU that present higher removal rates, 75%
  • The concentrations of pharmaceuticals found in the aquatic bodies were, in decreasing order, wastewater influents, wastewater effluents, surface water and other water bodies. These results present a global picture of the pharmaceuticals’ contamination, an important input for setting prioritizing measures and sustainable strategies to minimize their impact in the aquatic environment
  • Anti-inflammatories had one of the highest removal efficiencies, only comparable to hormones, and they remain with a high median concentration, the difference to the other therapeutic groups was significantly reduced

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