Journal of environmental science and health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances & environmental engineering

Ecotoxicological risk assessment of chosen pharmaceuticals detected in surface waters.

PMID 28949837


The goal of this work was to assess the risk posed by the presence of ciprofloxacin, 17α-ethinylestradiol and 5-fluorouracil in aquatic ecosystems based on chronic single-species ecotoxicological tests. There were 23 species used in this study: one cyanobacterium, three green algae, one higher plant, one protozoan, two crustaceans, two fish, 12 bacteria and one fungus (yeast). The risk assessment was performed on the basis of the PEC/PNEC ratio (PEC - predicted environmental concentration, PNEC - predicted no-effect concentration). PNEC was calculated using an assessment factor and statistical extrapolation models. The risk in relation to aquatic organisms proved to be high. The potentially affected fraction of aquatic species in the presence of pharmaceutical active ingredients, depending on the calculation method and the selected concentration in surface waters (predicted or measured), ranged from 6.26 to 27.84% for ciprofloxacin, 2.13 to 18.74% for 17α-ethinylestradiol and 4.96 to 39.28% for 5-fluorouracil. The study indicates several gaps in the existing guidelines, which may be considered within the guideline-revision process.