Over 40 Percent Of World’s Rivers Contain Harmful Levels Of Pharmaceutical Drug Pollution – Dr. Rath Health Foundation

A disturbing new analysis has revealed that over 40 percent of the world’s rivers may now contain harmful levels of pollution from pharmaceutical drugs. Published in the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal, the study found that around 461 of 1,052 sites monitored across 104 countries had drug concentrations considered to be of concern. Concluding that pharmaceutical pollution is a global problem, the researchers say that work is urgently needed to reduce concentrations in rivers down to acceptable levels.

To assess the effects in rivers across the world, the analysis utilizes the results of a global monitoring study of 61 active pharmaceutical ingredients examined alongside available ecotoxicological and pharmaceutical data. Worryingly, not only did 43.5 percent of the sites sampled have drug concentrations considered to be of concern, but 23 of the substances measured occurred in concentrations exceeding those currently claimed to be “safe”. Such substances included drugs from the antidepressant, antimicrobial, antihistamine, beta-blocker, anticonvulsant, antihyperglycemic, antimalarial, antifungal, calcium channel blocker, benzodiazepine, painkiller, and progestin classes. The drugs most frequently detected were carbamazepine (an anticonvulsant) and metformin (a diabetes medication).

Pointing out that there are now over 1,900 pharmaceutical compounds in use in human and veterinary medicine, the researchers say it is inevitable that these will be emitted to the natural environment during their manufacture, use, and disposal. Summarizing the growing evidence that pharmaceutical compounds can negatively affect the health of ecosystems, the paper cites a notable decline in vulture populations on the Indian subcontinent, effects on the behavior of fish, and a rise in drug-resistant bacteria as examples of the damage that is occurring. The highest cumulative concentrations of pharmaceuticals in surface waters were found in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South America, with Lahore in Pakistan being the most polluted system.

Over 40 Percent Of World’s Rivers Contain Harmful Levels Of Pharmaceutical Drug Pollution – Dr. Rath Health Foundation