Comprehensive Evaluation of Antibiotics Emission and Fate in the River Basins of China: Source Analysis, Multimedia Modelling, and Linkage to Bacterial Resistance

Antibiotics are widely used in humans and animals, but there is a big concern about their negative impacts on ecosystem and human health after use. So far there is a lack of information on emission inventory and environmental fate of antibiotics in China. During this study, the authors investigated national consumption, emissions, and multimedia fate of 36 frequently detected antibiotics in China by market survey, data analysis, and level III fugacity modelling tools. Based on our survey, the total usage for the 36 chemicals was 92700 tons in 2013, an estimated 54000 tons of the antibiotics was excreted by human and animals, and eventually 53800 tons of them entered into the receiving environment following various wastewater treatments. The fugacity model successfully predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) in all 58 river basins of China, which are comparable to the reported measured environmental concentrations (MECs) available in some basins. The bacterial resistance rates in the hospitals and aquatic environments were found to be related to the PECs and antibiotic usages, especially for those antibiotics used in the most recent period. This is the first comprehensive study, which demonstrates an alarming usage and emission of various antibiotics in China.

Authors: Zhang QQ, Ying GG, Pan CG, Liu YS, Zhao JL. ;Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology. 2015 May 21. [Epub ahead of print] ;