Pharmaceuticals in aquatic environment. Fate and behaviour, ecotoxicology and risk assessment – A review
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Pharmaceuticals are long-lasting, biologically active substances that, when discharged into the natural environment, affect ecosystem stability. The presence of increasing amounts of pharmaceuticals and their transformation products in the environment has been a subject of growing interest. Many of the commonly used pharmaceuticals, especially analgesics and antibiotics, are used in quantities similar to those of agricultural chemicals, but are not required to undergo the same level of environmental risk assessment. The fate and behavior of medicines in the environment require further research. Human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are distributed in the environment in various ways. The incidence of medicines and their transformation products has been so far recorded in surface and ground waters, drinking water, bottom sediments, soils, wastewater and sewage sludge, as well as in animal organisms. The article presents issues related to the fate and behavior of pharmaceuticals both in the environment and in the processes of wastewater treatment, ecotoxicology and risk assessment.
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