Ecotoxicity of Wastewater from Medical Facilities: A Review

Open access

Abstract

Wastewater from medical facilities contains a wide range of chemicals (in particular pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, heavy metals, contrast media, and radionuclides) and pathogens, therefore it constitutes a risk to the environment and human health. Many micropollutants are not efficiently eliminated during wastewater treatment and contaminate both surface water and groundwater. As we lack information about the long-term effects of low concentrations of micropollutants in the aquatic environment, it is not possible to rule out their adverse effects on aquatic organisms and human health. It is, therefore, necessary to focus on the evaluation of chronic toxicity in particular when assessing the environmental and health risks and to develop standards for the regulation of hazardous substances in wastewater from medical facilities on the basis of collected data. Wastewater from medical facilities is a complex mixture of many compounds that may have synergetic, antagonistic or additive effects on organisms. To evaluate the influence of a wide range of pollutants contained in the effluents from medical facilities on aquatic ecosystems, it is necessary to determine their ecotoxicity.

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