Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) as Emerging Environmental Pollutants: Toxicity and Risk Assessment

  • Sunil Chopra
  • Dharmender Kumar


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) include several classes of organic chemicals that are used to treat human and animal diseases and improve the quality of life. The production and consumption of these compounds plays a vital role in improving the economies of many countries and in increasing population growth. However, the extensive use of these compounds in recent years has led to their accumulation in our ecosystem and they are now found in living organisms through their involvement in food chains and food webs. As these compounds are bioactive in nature, they have potential toxicological and hazardous effects on ecological systems, environments, and human health. The high consumption of PPCPs may lead to the pollution of ecological environments worldwide. PPCPs are directly or indirectly excreted from humans in the form of sweat, urine, and feces, which are washed down drains and into sewerage systems, where they are released in urban and industrial wastewater and from wastewater treatment plants, owing to the incomplete removal of effluent. PPCPs that are widely detected in the environment include various medications used in human healthcare, such as clofibrate (for the treatment of hyperlipemia) and medications used for the treatment of inflammation and mild to moderate pain and fever, such as paracetamol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., naproxen, ibuprofen, and diclofenac) and their metabolites. These chemicals are frequently detected in different water bodies, and are then further spread by the water cycle to other sources, such as drinking water, lakes, rivers, and groundwater. In this chapter we review the current worldwide status of PPCP pollution in various ecosystems, including rivers, surface water, sewage, and soil. We describe the adverse effects of PPCPs on humans and on the environment, and we outline the toxicity and biodegradation status of PPCPs, as well as reporting risk assessments regarding their use.


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) Biodegradation Emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) Environmental fate Pharmaceuticals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sunil Chopra
    • 1
  • Dharmender Kumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyDeenbandhu Chhottu Ram University of Science and TechnologySonepatIndia

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