Over the last 20 years, concentrations of pharmacies have increased in freshwater sources around the world, as research from environmental experts at Radboud University has revealed. The levels of antibiotic ciprofloxacin have reached the point that could cause adverse ecological effects. The research is the first to examine the risks of two specific medicines in global freshwater sources, and it is published in it Environmental Research Letters on February 22nd. "The study requires collecting more common data to measure the problem around the world."
"Having an accurate picture of pharmaceutical environmental risks around the world depends on the availability of limited data," said Rik Oldenkamp, leading author of the article. "There are really models, such as the ePiE model, which can give detailed predictions of pharmaceutical concentrations in the environment, but these often apply to places where we already have a lot of information, such as rivers in Europe. " The new model developed by the researchers, which builds on a model that already exists with a lower decision, makes it possible to find worldwide predictions on for individual ecoregies.
For both pharmacists investigated in the study – carbamazepine, anti-epileptic drug, and ciprofloxacin, antibiotic – found that the environmental risks were 10 to 20 times higher in 2015 than in 1995. The increase in human use of ciprofloxacin was has a particularly high impact all over the world. "This antibiotic concentrations can be detrimental to bacteria in the water, and these bacteria play an important role in various nutritional cycles," says Oldenkamp. "Antibiotics can also have a negative effect on the effectiveness of bacteria colonies used in wastewater treatment."
Antibiotic objection as an environmental issue
Antibiotic resistance has been on the World Health Organization (WHO) agenda and the UN General Assembly for a couple of years now. "In general, it is considered a problem for the health sector, since resistant bacteria can be spread in hospitals or by livestock," says Oldenkamp. "But there is little awareness of the role of the environment in this problem, although it is becoming increasingly clear that the environment acts as a source of objection for a variety of pathogens."
More data in high risk areas
"Our model predicts relatively high environmental risk for ecregedd in intense and populated areas such as the Middle East, but these are exactly the areas where there is little data on pharmaceutical use and concentrations in surface waters," says Oldenkamp. The researchers predicted the use of human pharmacists in these areas using regression models based on the use in other countries, as well as socio-economic and demographic information, linking this to information related to other factors such as sources water and the number of people with access to wastewater treatment.
"Our model shows a specific need for new data in these types of areas," says Oldenkamp. "The model is a real starting point for creating an insight into the environmental hazards caused by pharmacies worldwide."
Materials provided by University of Nijmegen Radboud. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.