Toxicological relevance of pharmaceuticals in drinking water

Gretchen M. Bruce, Richard C. Pleus, Shane A Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Interest in the public health significance of trace levels of pharmaceuticals in potable water is increasing, particularly with regard to the effects of long-term, low-dose exposures. To assess health risks and establish target concentrations for water treatment, human health risk-based screening levels for 15 pharmaceutically active ingredients and four metabolites were compared to concentrations detected at 19 drinking water treatment plants across the United States. Compounds were selected based on rate of use, likelihood of occurrence, and potential for toxicity. Screening levels were established based on animal toxicity data and adverse effects at therapeutic doses, focusing largely on reproductive and developmental toxicity and carcinogenicity. Calculated drinking water equivalent levels (DWELs) ranged from 0.49 μg/L (risperidone) to 20,000 μg/L (naproxen). None of the 10 detected compounds exceeded their DWEL. Ratios of DWELs to maximum detected concentrations ranged from 110 (phenytoin) to 6,000,000 (sulfamethoxazole). Based on this evaluation, adverse health effects from targeted pharmaceuticals occurring in U.S. drinking water are not expected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5619-5626
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume44
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Drinking Water
Toxicology
drug
drinking water
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Toxicity
toxicity
Water Purification
Health risks
health risk
Health
Screening
Sulfamethoxazole
Naproxen
Water treatment plants
Risperidone
Phenytoin
Therapeutic Uses
Public health
public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Toxicological relevance of pharmaceuticals in drinking water. / Bruce, Gretchen M.; Pleus, Richard C.; Snyder, Shane A.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 44, No. 14, 15.07.2010, p. 5619-5626.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bruce, Gretchen M. ; Pleus, Richard C. ; Snyder, Shane A. / Toxicological relevance of pharmaceuticals in drinking water. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2010 ; Vol. 44, No. 14. pp. 5619-5626.
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