Results from the Swedish National Screening Programme 2010 Subreport 3. Pharmaceuticals

A screening study has been performed concerning Pharmaceuticals where the selection of pharmaceuticals included in the screening was based on ecotoxicological criteria, primarily potency and potential to bioconcentrate. In addition, antibiotics and some pharmaceuticals that have been included in previous screening programmes were also included. A total of 101 pharmaceuticals and 54 samples were included in the national programme and 67 samples were included in the regional programme. The sampling programme was focused on diffuse emissions from urban areas reflected in samples from waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) and their receiving waters. Biota samples (perch) from two background lakes and two of the receiving waters and also drinking water from two cities were also included. Of the 101 pharmaceuticals included in this study 92 were detected in the WWTP influent of at least one WWTP, in levels that ranged from low ng/L up to 540 µg/L, with a median concentration of 53 ng/L. Paracetamol was the pharmaceutical that was detected in highest amounts, up to 540 µg/L. 85 of the 101 pharmaceuticals included in this study were detected in the effluent of at least one WWTP, in levels that ranged from low ng/L up to 4 µg/L, with a median concentration of 35 ng/L. Diclofenac was the pharmaceutical that was detected in highest amounts (3.9 µg/L) in the effluent. Removal efficiencies and sludge concentrations from all four WWTPs are also presented.Of the 101 pharmaceuticals included in this study 66 were detected in the surface water samples in the range from low ng/L up to 1.8 µg/L. Measured surface water concentrations were evaluated by comparing them to critical environmental concentrations, i.e. the water concentration that is expected to cause a pharmacological effect in fish. This evaluation showed that five pharmaceuticals in these samples are expected to cause a pharmacological response in fish exposed to these waters. In this study 23 pharmaceuticals were detected in the seven biota (perch) samples. Concentrations were in the low µg/Kg range and highest detected levels were found in the perch caught in close proximity to the discharge point of WWTP Kungsängsverket (Uppsala) in River Fyris. Detected pharmaceuticals in biota correlate to the surface water concentrations and previous reports on the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in biota.Low levels (low ng/L range) of 26 pharmaceuticals were detected in the drinking water samples. There was significant difference between the two drinking waters; only two pharmaceuticals could be detected in the samples from Umeå, carbamazepine and trimethoprim, while 26 pharmaceuticals were detected in the Stockholm samples.

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Last updated: 2021-05-05

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