Oct 22 2010 02:10 PMWater/Wastewater

Pharmaceutical waste 'affecting European water quality'

 
Water quality across Europe is increasingly being adversely affected by waste products and pollutants caused by the pharmaceutical industry, according to an expert.

Friedrich Barth of the European Water Partnership told EurActiv that micropollution caused by residues from drugs, antibiotics and pills are becoming a pressing problem that could be affecting human health.

Wastewater produced by hospitals and drug development centres is mixing into rivers and lakes and could be causing environmental effects such as hormone imbalance in aquatic life, while some of the agents may be carcinogenic.

Mr Barth noted that there is currently no environmental legislation in the EU directly addressing this issue, suggesting that potentially contaminated wastewater of this kind should be collected and treated separately.

He added: "This is an area that has to be addressed in a much better way."

Earlier this month, researchers from Oregon State University raised concerns that the poor water quality off the Gulf of Mexico following the oil spill earlier this year could be causing a heightened cancer risk.

Posted by Lauren SteadmanADNFCR-1845-ID-800137238-ADNFCR

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