Water Supplies: Pharmaceuticals

Authored by: Klaus Kümmerer

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Pharmaceuticals are applied in human and veterinary medicine and are excreted in urine and feces. The unchanged drugs or (still active) metabolites excreted by humans and animals end up in sewage and manure. Unused medicines are sometimes disposed of down drains. Within the last decade, pharmaceuticals have been detected in sewage, surface water, ground water, and drinking water. This indicates that they are not fully eliminated by sewage treatment or in the aquatic environment. This entry describes the occurrence, fate, and effects of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment.

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