John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Prioritizing human pharmaceuticals for ecological risks in freshwater environment of Korea

Pharmaceutical residues are potential threats to aquatic ecosystem. Since more than 3000 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are in use, identifying high priority pharmaceuticals is important for developing appropriate management options. Priority pharmaceuticals may vary by geographical region, as their occurrence levels can be influenced by demographic, societal, and regional characteristics. In the present study, we prioritized human pharmaceuticals of potential ecological risks in Korean water environment, based on both amount of use, biological activity, and regional hydrologic characteristics. For this purpose, firstly we estimated the amounts of annual production of 695 human APIs in Korea for the first time. Then we derived predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) using two approaches, in order to develop an initial Candidate List of target pharmaceuticals. Major antineoplastic drugs and hormones were added in the initial Candidate List regardless of their production amount because of their high biological activity potential. The predicted no effect concentrations (PNECs) were derived for those pharmaceuticals based on ecotoxicity information available in literature or by model prediction. Then the Priority Lists of human pharmaceuticals were developed based on the ecological risks and availability of relevant information. Those priority APIs identified include acetaminophen, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, metformin, and norethisterone. Many of these pharmaceuticals have neither been adequately monitored nor assessed for risks in Korea. Further efforts are needed to improve these lists, and to develop management decisions for these compounds in Korean water. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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