Exposure of the main Italian river basin to pharmaceuticals

Federico Ferrari, Agata Gallipoli, Matteo Balderacchi, Maria Malgorzata Ulaszewska, Ettore Capri, Marco Trevisan

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Abstract

This study give a preliminary survey of pharmaceutical contamination and accumulation in surface waters and sediments along the river Po basin (74,000 km2, the largest in Italy), a strategic region for the Italian economy: it collects sewage from a vast industrialized area of Italy (Autorità di Baciono del fiume Po, 2006, 2009). 10 pharmaceuticals (atenolol, propanolol, metoprolol, nimesulide, furosemide, carbamazepine, ranitidine, metronidazole, paracetamol, and atorvastatin) from several therapeutic classes were searched in 54 sampling points along the river Po from the source to the delta, and at the mouth of its major effluents. In water samples were found pharmaceuticals in the range of 0.38–0.001 μg/L, except for furosemide (max conc. 0.605 μg/L), paracetamol (max conc. 3.59 μg/L), metoprolol (never detected) and for atenolol (not analysed). In sediment samples, only paracetamol was not detected, while the others were generally found in the range of 0.4–0.02 μg/kg ww with high concentrations for atenolol (max conc. 284 μg/kg ww) and furosemide (max conc. 98.4 μg/kg ww). The findings confirm also STPs as point sources of contamination. Despite of the much evidence for the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment, the observed low levels cannot be considered to pose a serious risk to human health; further studies are necessary for a comprehensive risk assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-18--
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Toxicology
Volume2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • exposure
  • pharmaceuticals

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