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Fluoroquinolones in the Wenyu River catchment, China: Occurrence simulation and risk assessment

Hao, Xuewen, Cao, Yan, Zhang, Lai, Zhang, Yongyong, Liu, Jianguo
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2015 v.34 no.12 pp. 2764-2770
antibiotics, aquatic environment, barium, ciprofloxacin, drugs, environmental impact, health services, hospitals, humans, hydrology, models, norfloxacin, ofloxacin, personal care products, risk, risk assessment, rivers, sewage treatment, streams, therapy animals, urban areas, watersheds, China, Europe
Concern is increasing regarding the environmental impact of the high usage rate and intensive release of antibiotics used for human and animal therapy in major urban areas of China. In the present study, regional environmental distribution simulations and risk assessments for 3 commonly used fluoroquinolones in the Wenyu River catchment were conducted using a typical catchment model widely used in Europe. The fluoroquinolone antibiotics investigated (ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin) are consumed at high levels for personal health care in China. These antibiotics were simulated in the aquatic environment of the Wenyu River catchment across the Beijing City area for annual average concentrations, with regional predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) of approximately 711 ng/L, 55.3 ng/L, and 22.2 ng/L and local PECs up to 1.8 µg/L, 116 ng/L, and 43 ng/L, respectively. Apart from hydrological conditions, the concentrations of fluoroquinolones were associated closely with the sewage treatment plants (STPs) and their serving population, as well as hospital distributions. The presence of these fluoroquinolones in the catchment area of the present study showed significant characteristics of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment in an urban river, with typical “down‐the‐drain” chemicals. Significantly high concentrations of specific antibiotics indicated non‐negligible risks caused by the intensive use in the local aquatic environment in a metropolitan area, particularly ofloxacin in upstream Shahe Reservoir, middle stream and downstream Qing River, and Liangma River to the Ba River segment. Specific treatment measures for these pharmaceuticals and personal care products in STPs are required for such metropolitan areas. Environ Toxicol Chem 2015;34:2764–2770. © 2015 SETAC