The global use of pharmaceuticals is on the systematic rise and leads to contamination of surface waters with xenobiotic compounds with a wide range of bioactivity. Waters that receive urban and medical effluents are particularly threatened. The presence of pharmaceuticals in these ecosystems can lead to unpredictable ecological impacts and responses, and may also have an impact on human health. At the same time the identification and quantification of these chemicals, to a large extent remains a subject to scientific investigation than part of a thorough monitoring programme. Their biological effects on aquatic organisms are mainly recognized experimentally and often using concentrations far exceeding environmentally relevant levels. This review paper defines the main sources of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment, discusses the fate of these compounds and summarizes the current state-of-the-art of pharmaceutical monitoring in Polish surface waters.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Baranowska I. Kowalski B. 2012 A rapid UHPLC method for the simultaneous determination of drugs from different therapeutic groups in surface water and wastewater Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 89(1): 8–14.
Barra Caracciolo A. Topp E. Grenni P. 2015 Pharmaceuticals in the environment: biodegradation and effects on natural microbial communities. A review J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 106: 25–36.
BIO Intelligence Service 2013 Study on the environmental risks of medicinal products Final Report prepared for Executive Agency for Health and Consumers. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/health/files/environment/study_environment.pdf [accessed 10 April 2017].
Bound J.P. Voulvoulis N. 2005 Household disposal of pharmaceuticals as a pathway for aquatic contamination in the United Kingdom Environ. Health Perspect. 113(12): 1705–1711.
Boxall A.B. Rudd M.A. Brooks B.W. Caldwell D.J. Choi K. Hickmann S. Innes E. Ostapyk K. Staveley J.P. Verslycke T. Ankley G.T. Beazley K.F. Belanger S.E. Berninger J.P. Carriquiriborde P. Coors A. Deleo P.C. Dyer S.D. Ericson J.F. Gagné F. Giesy J.P. Gouin T. Hallstrom L. Karlsson M.V. Larsson D.G. Lazorchak J.M. Mastrocco F. McLaughlin A. McMaster M.E. Meyerhoff R.D. Moore R. Parrott J.L. Snape J.R. Murray-Smith R. Servos M.R. Sibley P.K. Straub J.O. Szabo N.D. Topp E. Tetreault G.R. Trudeau V.L. Van Der Kraak G. 2012 Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment: what are the big questions? Environ. Health Perspect. 120(9): 1221–1229.
Bringolf R.B. Heltsley R.M. Newton T.J. Eads C.B. Fraley S.J. Shea D. Cope W.G. 2010 Environmental occurrence and reproductive effects of the pharmaceutical fluoxetine in native freshwater mussels Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 29(6): 1311–1318.
Brodin T. Piovano S. Fick J. Klaminder J. Heynen M. Jonsson M. 2014 Ecological effects of pharmaceuticals in aquatic systems – impacts through behavioural alterations Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 369(1656): 20130580.
Brooks B.W. Chambliss C.K. Stanley J.K. Ramirez A. Banks K.E. Johnson R.D. Lewis R.J. 2005 Determination of select antidepressants in fish from an effluent-dominated stream Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 24(2): 464–469.
Caban M. Lis E. Kumirska J. Stepnowski P. 2015 Determination of pharmaceutical residues in drinking water in Poland using a new SPE-GC-MS(SIM) method based on Speedisk extraction disks and DIMETRIS derivatization Sci. Total. Environ. 538: 402–411.
Caldwell D.J. Mertens B. Kappler K. Senac T. Journel R. Wilson P. Meyerhoff R.D. Parke N.J. Mastrocco F. Mattson B. Murray-Smith R. Dolan D.G. Straub J.O. Wiedemann M. Hartmann A. Finan D.S. 2016 A risk-based approach to managing active pharmaceutical ingredients in manufacturing effluent Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 35(4): 813–822.
Cardoso O. Porcher J.M. Sanchez W. 2014 Factory-discharged pharmaceuticals could be a relevant source of aquatic environment contamination: review of evidence and need for knowledge Chemosphere 115: 20–30.
Celiz M.D. Tso J. Aga D.S. 2009 Pharmaceutical metabolites in the environment: analytical challenges and ecological risks Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 28(12): 2473–2484.
Cui C.W. Ji S.L. Ren H.Y. 2006 Determination of steroid estrogens in wastewater treatment plant of a controceptives producing factory Environ. Monit. Assess. 121(1–3): 409–419.
Daughton C.G. 2003 Cradle-to-cradle stewardship of drugs for minimizing their environmental disposition while promoting human health. II. Drug disposal waste reduction and future directions Environ. Health Perspect. 111(5): 775–785.
Ding J. Lu G. Li S. Nie Y. Liu J. 2015 Biological fate and effects of propranolol in an experimental aquatic food chain Sci. Total. Environ. 532: 31–39.
Du B. Haddad S.P. Scott W.C. Chambliss C.K. Brooks B.W. 2015 Pharmaceutical bioaccumulation by periphyton and snails in an effluent-dependent stream during an extreme drought Chemosphere. 119: 927–934.
[EU] European Union 2013 Directive 2013/39/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy Offic. J. Eur. Union L226: 1–17.
Fick J. Söderström H. Lindberg R.H. Phan C. Tysklind M. Larsson D.G. 2009 Contamination of surface ground and drinking water from pharmaceutical production Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 28(12): 2522–2527.
Giebułtowicz J. Nałęcz-Jawecki G. 2014 Occurrence of antidepressant residues in the sewage-impacted Vistula and Utrata rivers and in tap water in Warsaw (Poland) Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. 104: 103–109.
Giebułtowicz J. Nałęcz-Jawecki G. 2016 Occurrence of immunosuppressive drugs and their metabolites in the sewage-impacted Vistula and Utrata Rivers and in tap water from the Warsaw region (Poland) Chemosphere 148: 137–147.
Giebułtowicz J. Stankiewicz A. Wroczyński P. Nałęcz-Jawecki G. 2016 Occurrence of cardiovascular drugs in the sewage-impacted Vistula River and in tap water in the Warsaw region (Poland) Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 23: 24337–24349.
Grabicova K. Grabic R. Blaha M. Kumar V. Cerveny D. Fedorova G. Randak T. 2015 Presence of pharmaceuticals in benthic fauna living in a small stream affected by effluent from a municipal sewage treatment plant Water Res. 72: 145–153.
Heberer T. 2002 Tracking persistent pharmaceutical residues from municipal sewage to drinking water J. Hydrol. 266(3–4): 175–189.
Huang W.C. Chou Y.P. Kao P.M. Hsu T.K. Su H.C. Ho Y.N. Yang Y.C. Hsu B.M. 2016 Nested-PCR and TaqMan real-time quantitative PCR assays for human adenoviruses in environmental waters Water Sci. Technol. 73(8): 1832–1841.
[IMS] IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics 2015 Global Use of Medicines in 2020: Outlook and Implications 43 pp.
Jakimska A. Śliwka-Kaszyńska M. Reszczyńska J. Namieśnik J. Kot-Wasik A. 2014 Elucidation of transformation pathway of ketoprofen ibuprofen and furosemide in surface water and their occurrence in the aqueous environment using UHPLC-QTOF-MS Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 406(15): 3667–3680.
Jeffries K.M. Brander S.M. Britton M.T. Fangue N.A. Connon R.E. 2015 Chronic exposure to low and high concentration of ibuprofen elicit different gene response patterns in a euryhaline fish Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 22(22): 17397–17413.
Jelic A. Gros M. Ginebreda A. Cespedes-Sánchez R. Ventura F. Petrovic M. Barcelo D. 2011 Occurrence partition and removal of pharmaceuticals in sewage water and sludge during wastewater treatment Water Res. 45(3): 1165–1176.
Kalgutkar A.S. Dalvie D.K. O’Donnell J.P. Taylor T.J. Sahakian D.C. 2002 On the diversity of oxidative bioactivation reactions on nitrogen-containing xenobiotics Curr. Drug Metab. 3(4): 379–424.
Kannan K. Praamsma M.L. Oldi J.F. Kunisue T. Sinha R.K. 2009 Occurrence of perchlorate in drinking water groundwater surface water and human saliva from India Chemosphere 76(1): 22–26.
Kasprzyk-Hordern B. Dinsdale R.M. Guwy A.J. 2007 Multi-residue method for the determination of basic/neutral pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in surface water by solid-phase extraction and ultra performance liquid chromatography-positive electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry J. Chromatogr. A. 1161(1–2): 132–145.
Khetan S.K. Collins T.J. 2007 Human pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment: a challenge to Green Chemistry Chem. Rev. 107(6): 2319–2364.
Koczura R. Krysiak N. Taraszewska A. Mokracka J. 2015 Coliform bacteria isolated from recreational lakes carry class 1 and class 2 integrons and virulence-associated genes J. Appl. Microbiol. 119(2): 594–603.
Kotowska U. Kapelewska J. Sturgulewska J. 2014 Determination of phenols and pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewaters from Polish treatment plants by ultrasound-assisted emulsification-microextraction followed by GC-MS Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 21(1): 660–673.
Kot-Wasik A. Jakimska A. Śliwka-Kaszyńska M. 2016 Occurrence and seasonal variations of 25 pharmaceutical residues in wastewater and drinking water treatment plants Environ. Monit. Assess. 188(12): 661.
Kumirska J. Migowska N. Caban M. Łukaszewicz P. Stepnowski P. 2015 Simultaneous determination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oestrogenic hormones in environmental solid samples Sci. Total Environ. 508: 498–505.
Lahti M. Brozinski J.M. Jylhä A. Kronberg L. Oikari A. 2011 Uptake from water biotransformation and biliary excretion of pharmaceuticals by rainbow trout Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 30(6): 1403–1411.
Langford K. Thomas K.V. 2011 Input of selected human pharmaceutical metabolites into the Norwegian aquatic environment J. Environ. Monitor. 13: 416–421.
Larsson D.G. de Pedro C. Paxeus N. 2007 Effluent from drug manufactures contains extremely high levels of pharmaceuticals J. Hazard. Mater. 148(3): 751–755.
Li W. Shi Y. Gao L. Liu J. Cai Y. 2012 Investigation of antibiotics in mollusks from coastal waters in the Bohai Sea of China Environ. Pollut. 162: 56–62.
Liu J. Lu G. Wang Y. Yan Z. Yang X. Ding J. Jiang Z. 2014 Bioconcentration metabolism and biomarker responses in freshwater fish Carassius auratus exposed to roxithromycin Chemosphere 99: 102–108.
Łukaszewicz P. Maszkowska J. Mulkiewicz E. Kumirska J. Stepnowski P. Caban M. 2016 Impact of Veterinary Pharmaceuticals on the Agricultural Environment: A Re-inspection Rev. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 243: 89–148.
Martínez-Hernández V. Meffe R. Herrera S. Arranz E. de Bustamante I. 2014 Sorption/desorption of non-hydrophobic and ionisable pharmaceutical and personal care products from reclaimed water onto/from a natural sediment Sci. Total Environ. 472: 273–281.
Mendoza A. Aceña J. Pérez S. López de Alda M. Barceló D. Gil A. Valcárcel Y. 2015 Pharmaceuticals and iodinated contrast media in a hospital wastewater: A case study to analyse their presence and characterise their environmental risk and hazard Environ. Res. 140: 225–241.
Migowska N. Caban M. Stepnowski P. Kumirska J. 2012 Simultaneous analysis of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and estrogenic hormones in water and wastewater samples using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and gas chromatography with electron capture detection Sci. Total Environ. 441: 77–88.
O’Neil J.M. Davis T.W. Burford M.A. Gobler C.J. 2012 The rise of harmful cyanobacteria blooms: the potential roles of eutrophication and climate change Harmful Algae 14: 313–334.
Obimakinde S. Fatoki O. Opeolu B. Olatunji O. 2017 Veterinary pharmaceuticals in aqueous systems and associated effects: an update Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 24(4): 3274–3297.
Pal A. He Y. Jekel M. Reinhard M. Gin K.Y. 2014 Emerging contaminants of public health significance as water quality indicator compounds in the urban water cycle Environ. Int. 71: 46–62.
Puckowski A. Mioduszewska K. Łukaszewicz P. Borecka M. Caban M. Maszkowska J. Stepnowski P. 2016 Bioaccumulation and analytics of pharmaceutical residues in the environment: A review J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 127: 232–255.
Qingwei B. Xiao S. Gang Y. Jun H. Bin W. 2016 Assessing the persistence of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment: Challenges and needs Emerging Contaminants 2(3): 145–147.
Qiting J. Xiheng Z. 1988 Combination process of anaerobic digestion and ozonation technology for treating wastewater from antibiotics production Water Treat. 3: 285–291.
Reddersen K. Heberer T. Dünnbier U. 2002 Identification and significance of phenazone drugs and their metabolites in ground-and drinking water Chemosphere 49(4): 539–544.
Rzymski P. Klimaszyk P. Kubacki T. Poniedziałek B. 2013 The effect of glyphosate-based herbicide on aquatic organisms – a case study Limnol. Rev. 13: 215–220.
Rzymski P. Niedzielski P. Klimaszyk P. Poniedziałek B. 2014 Bioaccumulation of selected metals in bivalves (Unionidae) and Phragmites australis inhabiting a municipal water reservoir. Environ. Monit. Assess. 186(5): 3199–3212.
Scheytt T. Mersmann P. Lindstädt R. Heberer T. 2005 Determination of sorption coefficients of pharmaceutically active substances carbamazepine diclofenac and ibuprofen in sandy sediments Chemosphere. 60(2): 245–253.
Sim W.J. Lee J.W. Lee E.S. Shin S.K. Hwang S.R. Oh J.E. 2011 Occurrence and distribution of pharmaceuticals in wastewater from households livestock farms hospitals and pharmaceutical manufactures Chemosphere 82(2): 179–186.
Słodkowicz-Kowalska A. Majewska A.C. Rzymski P. Skrzypczak Ł. Werner A. 2015 Human waterborne protozoan parasites in freshwater bivalves (Anodonta anatina and Unio tumidus) as potential indicators of fecal pollution in urban reservoir Limnologica 51: 32–36.
Statista 2016 Revenue of the worldwide pharmaceutical market from 2001 to 2015 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/263102/pharmaceutical-market-worldwide-revenue-since-2001/ [accessed 10 April 2017].
Sura S. Degenhardt D. Cessna A.J. Larney F.J. Olson A.F. McAllister T.A. 2015 Transport of three veterinary antimicrobials from feedlot pens via simulated rainfall runoff Sci. Total Environ. 521–522: 191–199.
Svahn O. Björklund E. 2015 Describing sorption of pharmaceuticals to lake and river sediments and sewage sludge from UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Kristianstads Vattenrike by chromatographic asymmetry factors and recovery measurements J. Chromatogr. A 1415: 73–82.
Ternes T.A. Joss A. Siegrist H. 2004 Scrutinizing pharmaceuticals and personal care products in wastewater treatment Environ. Sci. Technol. 38(20): 392–399.
Tixier C. Singer H.P. Oellers S. Müller S.R. 2003 Occurrence and fate of carbamazepine clofibric acid diclofenac ibuprofen ketoprofen and naproxen in surface waters Environ. Sci. Technol. 37(6): 1061–1068.
Wagil M. Białk-Bielińska A. Maszkowska J. Stepnowski P. Kumirska J. 2015a Critical points in the evaluation of analytical methods based on liquid chromatography separation for the determination of doramectin in different environmental samples Chemosphere 119 Suppl.: 9–15.
Wagil M. Kumirska J. Stolte S. Puckowski A. Maszkowska J. Stepnowski P. Białk-Bielińska A. 2014 Development of sensitive and reliable LC-MS/MS methods for the determination of three fluoroquinolones in water and fish tissue samples and preliminary environmental risk assessment of their presence in two rivers in northern Poland Sci. Total Environ. 493: 1006–1013.
Wagil M. Maszkowska J. Białk-Bielińska A. Caban M. Stepnowski P. Kumirska J. 2015b Determination of metronidazole residues in water sediment and fish tissue samples Chemosphere 119 Suppl.: 28–34.
Wagil M. Maszkowska J. Białk-Bielińska A. Stepnowski P. Kumirska J. 2015c A comprehensive approach to the determination of two benzimidazoles in environmental samples Chemosphere 119 Suppl.: 35–41.
WHO/UNICEF 2015 Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva 80 pp.
Wolska L. Mechlińska A. Rogowska J. Namieśnik J. 2014 Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in bottom sediments: identification of sources Chemosphere 111: 151–156.
Yamamoto H. Nakamura Y. Moriguchi S. Nakamura Y. Honda Y. Tamura I. Hirata Y. Hayashi A. Sekizawa J. 2009 Persistence and partitioning of eight selected pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment: laboratory photolysis biodegradation and sorption experiments Water Res. 43(2): 351–362.
Yan C. Che F. Zeng L. Wang Z. Du M. Wei Q. Wang Z. Wang D. Zhen Z. 2016 Spatial and seasonal changes of arsenic species in Lake Taihu in relation to eutrophication Sci. Total Environ. 563–564: 496–505.
Zhang X.X. Zhang T. Fang H.H. 2009 Antibiotic resistance genes in water environment Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 82(3): 397–414.
Zou H. Radke M. Kierkegaard A. MacLeod M. McLachlan M.S. 2015 Using chemical benchmarking to determine the persistence of chemicals in a Swedish lake Environ. Sci. Technol. 49(3): 1646–1653.