Pharmaceuticals are a new class of widespread environmental pollutants, contaminating the environment from a myriad of scattered entry points. Improper disposal and industrial emission contribute to the pollution but the major source of the contamination is the patient itself. Once administered pharmaceuticals are excreted unmetabolised with the urine or stools. With the wastewater they reach the treatment plants which are unable to remove complex molecules. Therefore several pharmaceuticals persist in the treated water and contaminate the environment. Several active substances can be commonly measured in surface water of rivers and lakes, at low but potentially toxic concentrations. Pharmaceuticals in the environment are becoming a subject of global concern, with potential environmental consequences. Regulatory guidelines have been proposed by the EMEA, while other proposals to reduce the environmental pollution by these substances are provided by the "green pharmacy". The sewage system is an important key point to control the environmental contamination, but treatment plants are unable to remove efficiently a substantial part of the pharmaceuticals. However the efficiency of drug removal could be improved but with long time and high costs. Meanwhile education and information of patients and doctors on proper disposal and use of medications could reduce the burden of pharmaceuticals contaminating the environment, mitigating their potential hazard.
|Translated title of the contribution||Drugs: Omnipresent pollutants in the environment|
|Title of host publication||Quaderni ACP|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2007|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health