Environmental Risk Assessment of Pharmaceutical Residues in Wastewater Effluents, Surface Waters and Sediments

Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Almería, 04120 Almería, Spain.
Talanta (Impact Factor: 3.55). 05/2006; 69(2):334-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2005.09.037
Source: PubMed


Pharmaceutical residues in the environment, and their potential toxic effects, have been recognized as one of the emerging research area in the environmental chemistry. The increasing attention, on pharmaceutical residues as potential pollutants, is due that they often have similar physico-chemical behaviour than other harmful xenobiotics which are persistent or produce adverse effects. In addition, by contrast with regulated pollutants, which often have longer environmental half-lives, its continuous introduction in the environment may make them "pseudopersistents". Pharmaceutical residues and/or their metabolites are usually detected in the environment at trace levels, but, even that, low concentration levels (ng/L or microg/L) can induce to toxic effects. In particular, this is the case of antibiotics and steroids that cause resistance in natural bacterial populations or endocrine disruption effects. In this study, an overview of the environmental occurrence and ecological risk assessment of pharmaceutical residues is presented from literature data. Risk Quotient method (RQ) was applied as a novel approach to estimate the environmental risk of pharmaceuticals that are most frequently detected in wastewater effluents, surface waters and sediments.

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