Human health risk assessment of selected pharmaceuticals in the five major river basins, China


Pharmaceuticals in aquatic environment have raised wide attention in recent years due to their potential adverse effects and bioaccumulation in biota. China has been a major producer and consumer of pharmaceuticals, however, the potential human health risk of these chemicals is yet to be determined in China. In this study, we evaluated available exposure data for twenty pharmaceuticals in surface waters from Chinese five major river basins (the Yangtze, Haihe, Pearl, Songliao, and Yellow River Basins), and human health risk assessment was performed. Based on the concentration data and risk data, we conducted research on the source, cause, and control measures of the pharmaceuticals. The twenty pharmaceuticals were found to be ubiquitous in China with median concentrations between 0.09 and 304 ng/L. The estimated daily intake of pharmaceuticals from drinking water and eating fish was calculated. The intake via drinking water was significantly lower than that via eating fish. The risk quotients via water intake and fish consumption ranged from 0 to 17.2, with estrogen and sulfapyridine highest among the twenty pharmaceuticals. High risks of exposure were mainly in North China, including the Haihe and Songliao River Basins. This is the first analysis in Chinese major river basins that has filled the gaps in the research on the human health risks of pharmaceuticals. The results of the study provide basic information of pharmaceutical intake from drinking water and eating fish in China and provide insights into the risk management guidance of pharmaceuticals, and will facilitate the optimization of health advisories and policy making.

Authors: Chaomeng Dai, Si Li, Yanping Duan, Kah Hon Leong, Yaojen Tu, Lang Zhou
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2021 Aug 18;801:149730. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149730.