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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 78–90 | Cite as

Environmental risk assessment of psychoactive drugs in the aquatic environment

  • Deivisson L. CunhaEmail author
  • Maíra P. Mendes
  • Marcia Marques
Review Article

Abstract

The consumption of psychoactive pharmaceuticals has increased worldwide, and wastewater treatment plants are not able to eliminate them from the effluent. An extensive review was carried out to assess the environmental risk (ERA model) based on secondary data about potential impacts on non-target organisms of seven psychoactive drugs consumed worldwide (alprazolam, bromazepam, citalopram, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, and oxazepam). Risk quotients (RQs) were calculated according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on ERA of Medicinal Products For Human Use based on (i) the predicted and measured environmental concentrations (PEC and MEC, respectively) of the psychoactive drug in surface water, groundwater, and wastewater effluent and (ii) the predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) derived from ecotoxicological assays or ECOSAR software. Furthermore, this study reviews and discusses non-standardized ecotoxicity assays, such as sublethal and behavioral effects on different organisms. In total, 903 MEC entries of psychoactive drugs and 162 data on ecotoxicological assays were gathered from the literature survey addressing behavioral effects (115), acute/chronic effects (35), and sublethal effects (12). Citalopram and diazepam were the only substances that are likely to pose an environmental risk (RQ > 1) to surface waters. Even though there is considerable amount of data on behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs to aquatic species, results are currently not integrated into the EMA risk assessment framework. The large amount of data on psychoactive drug concentrations and effects on non-target organisms collected, interpreted, and discussed in the present study should be used as a baseline for future improvement of ERA strategies.

Keywords

Psychoactive drugs Aquatic environment Environmental risk assessment Behavioral toxicology Predicted environmental concentration (PEC) Measured environmental concentration (MEC) 

Abbreviations

AF

assessment factor

AZP

alprazolam

BZP

bromazepam

CIT

citalopram

CZP

clonazepam

DF

dilution factor

DOSEai

maximum daily dose (mg/day) of a substance

DZP

diazepam

ECOSAR

Ecological Structure Activity Relationships—Class Program

EMA

European Medicines Agency

ERA

Environmental Risk Assessment

Fpen

market penetration factor

GW

groundwater

Koc

adsorption coefficient

Kow

octanol/water partition coefficient

LZP

lorazepam

MEC

measured environmental concentration

NOEC

no observed effect concentration

OECD

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

OZP

oxazepam

PEC

predicted environmental concentration

PNEC

predicted no effect concentration

PPCP

pharmaceuticals and personal care products

RQ

risk quotient

STP

sewage treatment plant

SW

surface water

Wastewinhab

amount of wastewater per inhabitant per day (L/inhab day)

WWE

wastewater effluent

Notes

Funding information

The financial support from the Department of Innovation of Rio de Janeiro State University (InovUERJ), the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq: 308335/2017-1), and the Research Support Foundation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ: E-16/202.994/2015, E-26/202.261/2018, and E-26/202.262/2018) are acknowledged.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3556_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (645 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 645 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sanitary and Environmental EngineeringRio de Janeiro State University (UERJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Toxicology CentreUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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