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Investigation of pharmaceutically active compounds in an urban receiving water: Occurrence, fate and environmental risk assessment

Liu, Jianchao, Dan, Xiaoxiang, Lu, Guanghua, Shen, Jie, Wu, Donghai, Yan, Zhenhua
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2018 v.154 pp. 214-220
active ingredients, adverse effects, algae, aquatic ecosystems, aquatic environment, bioaccumulation factor, brain, colloids, diclofenac, effluents, environmental assessment, erythromycin, excretion, fish, gemfibrozil, indomethacin, ketoconazole, kidneys, liver, muscles, particulates, propranolol, risk, risk assessment, rivers, sediments, sewage treatment, tissues
Pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) recently have been recognized to constitute a health risk for aquatic ecosystems. The major pathways of PhACs to enter the aquatic environment are excretion and discharge of effluents through sewage treatment plants (STPs). The occurrence, bioaccumulation and risk assessment of lipophilic PhACs, including erythromycin, ketoconazole, indomethacin, diclofenac, gemfibrozil, bezafibrate, propranolol, carbamazepine, sertraline and 17α-ethinylestradiol were investigated in a river that receives effluents from STP. The results indicate that the PhACs were extensively existed in fish, sediment, suspended particulate matter (SPM), colloidal phase (5 kDa to 1 µm) and truly dissolved phase (< 5 kDa) water, with total concentration of ten PhACs (Σ10PhACs) of ND-19.6 ng/g, 7.3–11.2 ng/g, 25.3–101.5 ng/g, 10.1–27.7 ng/L and 67.0–107.6 ng/L, respectively. The Σ10PhACs for particulate and water samples collected from STP's outfall site were higher than those collected from upstream and downstream, indicating that the STP is an important PhACs source of river. However, the Σ10PhACs in sediment showed no significant statistical differences in the sampling area, and which was 3.5–9.5 times lower than those in SPM samples. The colloidal phase contributed 2.5–28.5% of erythromycin, 5.8–45.6% of ketoconazole, 8.4–32.2% of indomethacin, 7.0–21.4% of diclofenac, 11.6–36.9% of gemfibrozil, 10.2–45.9% of bezafibrate, 5.9–16.8% of propranolol, 1.9–11.1% of carbamazepine and 1.1–23.8% of sertraline in the aquatic environment. This suggests that aquatic particulates (e.g., colloids and SPM) maybe an important carrier for PhACs in the aquatic system. In general, the Σ10PhACs in the tissues of fish were in order as follows: kidney > brain > liver > gill > muscle. Based on truly dissolved concentrations of PhACs in the water, bioaccumulation factors were between 3.7 and 2727.3 in the fish tissues, sertraline exhibited bioaccumulation potential. In all the risk assessments, erythromycin could cause most harmful adverse health effects for the most sensitive algae group based on the acute and chronic data. In addition, the risk quotient values for diclofenac toward fish were higher than 1. These results indicate that the PhACs pose a potential risk to the aquatic organisms, especially for chronic risk.