ATTo the multiple causes of the withering of the environment, such as global warming or atmospheric pollution, is added drug pollution. The pills, cachets and other liquids would be “a global threat to the environment and human health”, due to the contamination of waters around the world that their residues generate. In a study recently published in the scientific journal Pnasand relayed on Wednesday February 16 by International mailit is stated that “pharmaceuticals and other active substances used by man are known to be harmful to fauna and flora, and pollution with antibiotics increases the risk of resistance to these drugs, one of the worst health threats to the human species”.
To carry out this research, the most comprehensive to date on this theme, 86 institutes took part in the research, collecting and analyzing no less than 1,052 samples from 258 rivers, themselves distributed in 104 countries on the five continents of the blue planet. At the end of this collection, the scientists scrutinized, in these samples, the presence of the 61 most commonly used substances, ranging from antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to stimulants while excluding hard drugs (cocaine, MDMA, etc.).
A particularly contaminated place…
The report specifies that “the substances most frequently detected are an antiepileptic drug, carbamazepine, which is difficult to break down, metformin, used against diabetes, and caffeine. All three were found in at least half of the sites”. With the exception of Iceland and the remote Yanomami village in Venezuela, all regions examined had traces of drug residues. The record goes to the Kai Tak River (Hong Kong), which contained 34 different substances.
Participating in the work, Inrae, the French Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment explained: “The results show that the degree of pollution of waterways is correlated with the socio-economic conditions of the country: the most contaminated sites being those of low-income countries and with little or no treatment system for domestic wastewater or water from pharmaceutical industries. The scientists hope that these revelations will improve wastewater collection and treatment practices.