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Pharmaceuticals In The Environment

K. Kümmerer
Published 2001 · Business

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Pharmaceuticals are chemicals that are used because of their biological activity. They are often excreted unchanged and can reach the environment. Throughout developed countries, the pharmaceutical concentrations in the aquatic environment are in the same range (μg L−1 and below); however, it is not clear whether this holds for less-developed countries too. The health risks of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) remain poorly understood. Although there are no known short-term effects on humans, long-term effects cannot be ruled out until there is more research. The significance of metabolites and transformation products resulting from the parent APIs is not yet known. Awareness of the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment, coupled with some evidence of effects, suggests that precautionary management action to reduce the release of pharmaceuticals to the environment should be considered. As for effluent treatment, no technology works well for all compounds. Advanced effluent treatment is not ...
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