John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Aquatic environmental risk assessment for human use of the old antibiotic sulfamethoxazole in europe

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Sulfamethoxazole (SMX) is an old sulfonamide antibiotic that was launched first in combination with Trimethoprim in 1969 by F.Hoffmann‐La Roche Ltd. While sales figures for SMX have been declining over the past 20 years, it is still a widely used compound; moreover, there are many measured environmental concentrations (MECs) available from Europe, the USA, Asia, Australia and Africa. To assess aquatic risks of SMX in Europe, the exposure of European surface waters was predicted based on actual sales figures from IMS Health, Inc., incorporating environmental fate data, on one side, and based on collated MECs representing more than 5500 single measurements in Europe on the other. Environmental effects were assessed using chronic and subchronic ecotoxicity data for 16 groups of aquatic organisms, from periphyton communities to cyanobacteria, algae, higher plants, various invertebrates and vertebrates. Predicted no‐effect concentrations (PNECs) were derived using both deterministic and probabilistic methodology. The PEC/PNEC and MEC/PNEC comparisons overall show no appreciable risk, except in a low incidence (<0.55%) of cases where exceptionally high MECs lead to MEC/PNEC risk characterisation ratios >1. The PNECs derived here can be used to extend the aquatic ERA for SMX to other continents. Last, no risk appears for indirect human exposure to SMX via the environment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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