Hundreds of different active pharmaceutical compounds are being discovered in waterways around the world. A significant concern is increasing among various stakeholders about the potential harm for the human health and the environment.
The pharmaceuticals are released into the environment during production process with the wastewater discharge of pharmaceutical companies, with municipal wastewaters, where they appear as a result of natural excretion by humans, and in cases of improperly handled pharmaceuticals waste (flushing it into the sewage or discarding obsolete drugs into the household waste). Not all European citizens have information about how to dispose of unwanted or obsolete medicines safely, and often use toilet, sink and household waste as common disposal practices for pharmaceuticals.
Pharmaceuticals also enter the environment via agri- and aquacultural veterinary practices. Medicinal products can directly enter the environment through feed surplus, notably in the case of aquaculture. Nowadays we have a large number of studies about presence of pharmaceuticals in all components of the environment, but the contribution of each source has not been evaluated sufficiently.
Hazardous substances and marine litter