Pharmaceutical Drugs Infiltrating World’s Rivers, Impacting Aquatic Life
Certain medicines including painkillers, antidepressants, and antibiotics are contaminating water bodies - putting marine life in jeopardy
As per the latest research, pharmaceutical drugs are infiltrating rivers throughout the world. This is one of the major causes of pollution in various waterways worldwide. The drugs found in the water bodies include compounds including painkillers, antidepressants, and antibiotics. All these are likely to exceed the safe limits of water bodies worldwide.
The study has been published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and includes data from more than 1,000 locations in around 104 countries. As per the study, 43.5 percent of the waterways include concerning levels of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients). The APIs are released into the waterways during the production of pharmaceuticals.
Out of 61 APIs studied, around 23 concentrations exceeded the safety levels. Scientists identified components from some common drugs, such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, antihistamines, antimicrobials, painkillers, and more.
According to co-author Alejandra Bouzas-Monroy, the first global assessment impacts the pharmaceutical drugs and mixtures in riverine systems. The findings show a very high proportion of rivers worldwide at risk of pharmaceutical pollution. Therefore, we need to do more to decrease the release of such substances into the environment.
The researchers also found that rivers in Africa have a higher number of API concentrations that exceed the Predicted No-Effect Concentration (PNEC) levels. On the other hand, North America has the lowest concentrations of APIs. It is due to the variations in wastewater treatment and management and manufacturing processes of pharmaceutical drugs.
Due to the presence of such high levels of drug content in the water, aquatic life and nearby plants and animals are facing adverse impacts. This is another proof of human-caused pollution and our bad waste habits. The cocktails of pharmaceutical drugs are highly toxic to marine life. So, we all have to work on the betterment of environmental regulation around prescription drugs.