Pharmas - Ecological and human health risk assessments of antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs found in the environment

  • Trapp, Stefan (Project Manager)
  • Legind, Charlotte Nielsen (Project Participant)

    Project Details


    The presence of human pharmaceuticals in the environment is not a new issue; their presence in the aquatic environment in North America was highlighted several decades ago. In Europe, the first reports of human pharmaceuticals in the environment were published a little later. These early reports from Europe were very far-sighted in that they identified sex steroids, and in particular oestrogens, as being present in the aquatic environment, and likely to affect reproduction of fish if concentrations were high enough. Research progressed steadily during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and this progress was summarized a decade ago in two influential reviews by primarily European chemists who had been studying the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment. Since, an increasing interest in this area resulted in an “explosion” in the number of references. However, all this research merely documented the presence, fate and behaviour of human pharmaceuticals in the environment; it did little to address the issue of whether or not their presence constituted a hazard to either wildlife (especially aquatic organisms) and humans drinking water containing minute quantities of these pharmaceuticals.
    PHARMAS will focus on:
    • The risk to human health and the environment from anti-cancer and antibiotic drugs
    • It will include an assessment of the transformation products of the selected drugs
    • The exposure routes considered will be via water and food
    • Exposure will include modelling (all 27 EU countries) and direct measurements
    • Mixture effects will be considered
    • Comparison of effects of the drugs on the embryo and adults on a test fish will be examined
    • Human health and environment risks evaluated
    • Socio-economic impact of risks evaluated
    Effective start/end date01/10/201001/10/2013


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