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Predicted concentrations of anticancer drugs in the aquatic environment: What should we monitor and where should we treat?

Cristóvão, M.B., Janssens, R., Yadav, A., Pandey, S., Luis, P., Van der Bruggen, B., Dubey, K.K., Mandal, M.K., Crespo, J.G., Pereira, V.J.
Journal of hazardous materials 2020 v.392 pp. 122330
antineoplastic agents, aquatic environment, effluents, monitoring, municipal wastewater, surface water, Belgium, India, Portugal
Anticancer drugs have been detected in the aquatic environment, they have a potent mechanism of action and their consumption is expected to drastically increase in the future. Consequently, it is crucial to routinely monitor the occurrence of anticancer drugs and to develop effective treatment options to avoid their release into the environment.Prior to implementing a monitoring program, it is important to define which anticancer drugs are more prone to be found in the surface waters. In this study the consumption of anticancer drugs in the Lisbon region (Portugal), Belgium and Haryana state (India) were used to estimate the concentrations that can be expected in surface waters.Moreover, one important aspect is to define the major entry route of anticancer drugs in the aquatic environment: is it hospital or household effluents? The results disclosed in this study showed that in Belgium and Lisbon, 94 % of the total amount of anticancer drugs were delivered to outpatients, indicating that household effluents are the primary input source of these drugs and thus, upgrading the treatment in the domestic wastewater facilities should be the focus.