Pharmaceuticals and Water

Commissioned by the One Health Breakthrough Partnership (OHBP)  – a consortium of key regional and national stakeholders across the water, environment and healthcare sectors comprising Scottish Water, SEPA, NHS Highland, and the Environmental Research Institute-University of the Highlands and Islands – and supported by Scottish Government – the report represents the first national assessment of the emerging area of concern around pharmaceutical pollution of Scotland’s water environment.

Data on 60 medicines in the water environment, known to occur through consumption and inappropriate disposal into wastewater systems, were obtained from a range of sources and the study found that nine medicines, including ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory painkiller) and antibiotics, may pose higher risks of ecotoxicity and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), although the authors emphasise that monitoring is often carried out at higher risk locations where the load is atypical of the wider water environment.  The report makes clear that dangers to human health are extremely unlikely, but the findings do illustrate levels of pharmaceuticals in the environment and the need for further research to improve understanding.

Find a link to the report below:

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