Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals inadequate, Swedish researchers says

Date:
October 18, 2010
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
The strategies used to assess the environmental risks posed by pharmaceuticals are not enough to protect natural microbial communities, says a researcher from Sweden who is calling for better environmental risk assessments.

The strategies used to assess the environmental risks posed by pharmaceuticals are not enough to protect natural microbial communities, reveals a researcher from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) who is calling for better environmental risk assessments.

"Above all, we need to include the combined effects of different drugs to reflect the situation in nature as it really is," says Sara Brosché from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

Modern medicine relies on pharmaceuticals for the treatment of practically everything, from headaches to cancer. The active substances in the drugs we take do not disappear into the body but are gradually secreted in urine and faeces. They then enter the sewerage system, and small amounts make it through the entire sewage treatment process.

Small quantities of pharmaceuticals are nowadays found in most aquatic environments, from groundwater to seawater. The highest concentrations are in the effluent from sewage treatment plants, often in the form of a cocktail of many different drugs. Once out in nature, these drug residues continue to affect living creatures. This applies particularly to antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics and antifungals, which are designed to kill microorganisms whether they are "bad" and cause infection, or "good" and serve important functions in nature.

"I saw effects on bacteria from the antibiotic chlortetracycline even at the concentrations shown in scientific publications to be present in the effluent from sewage treatment plants. Although chlortetracycline is no longer used in Sweden, many antibiotics from the same class are still in use."

In her research, Brosché has looked primarily at the combined effects of pharmaceuticals, as a cocktail of toxic substances will generally have a greater effect than the sum of its constituent parts. Her results show that although the levels of drugs normally seen in the environment are low, they are not without their risks.

"When five pharmaceuticals and personal care products (fluoxetine, propranolol, zinc pyritione, clotrimazole and triclosan) were mixed together at concentrations which did not have any significant effect individually, the mixture had an almost 30% effect on microalgae."

Brosché has also studied the high levels of antibiotics in effluents from pharmaceutical production in India. When microbial communities were exposed to this effluent, they rapidly developed increased tolerance to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals inadequate, Swedish researchers says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074608.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2010, October 18). Environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals inadequate, Swedish researchers says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074608.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals inadequate, Swedish researchers says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018074608.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins