Article

Ecotoxicology

, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 2031-2050

Risk assessment of chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, sulfamethazine, sulfathiazole, and erythromycin in aquatic environment: are the current environmental concentrations safe?

  • Kyunghee JiAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University
  • , Sunmi KimAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University
  • , Sunyoung HanAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University
  • , Jihyun SeoAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University
  • , Sangwoo LeeAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University
  • , Yoonsuk ParkAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University
  • , Kyunghee ChoiAffiliated withNational Institute of Environmental Research
  • , Young-Lim KhoAffiliated withSchool of Human & Environmental Sciences, Eulji University
  • , Pan-Gyi KimAffiliated withCollege of Natural Sciences, Yongin University
    • , Jeongim ParkAffiliated withCollege of Natural Sciences, Soonchunhyang University
    • , Kyungho ChoiAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Seoul National University Email author 

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Abstract

To understand potential risks of major pharmaceutical residues in waters, we evaluated ecotoxicities of five major veterinary pharmaceuticals, i.e., chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, sulfamethazine, sulfathiazole, and erythromycin, which have been frequently detected in freshwater environment worldwide. We conducted acute and chronic toxicity tests using two freshwater invertebrates (Daphnia magna and Moina macrocopa) and a fish (Oryzias latipes). In general, D. magna exhibited greater sensitivity than M. macrocopa, and chronic reproduction was the most sensitive endpoints for both organisms. The population growth rate was adversely influenced by exposure to chlortetracycline, sulfamethazine, or sulfathiazole in water fleas, but reduction in population size was not expected. In O. latipes, the tested pharmaceuticals affected several reproduction related endpoints including time to hatch and growth. Based on the toxicity values from the present study and literature, algae appeared to be the most sensitive organism, followed by Daphnia and fish. Hazard quotients derived from measured environmental concentrations (MECs) and predicted no effect concentrations (PNECs) for erythromycin and oxytetracycline exceeded unity, suggesting that potential ecological effects at highly contaminated sites cannot be ruled out. Long-term consequences of veterinary pharmaceutical contamination in the environment deserve further investigation.

Keywords

Chronic toxicity Effective concentration Measured environmental concentration Veterinary pharmaceutical