Occurcene of caffeine in the freshwater environment: Implications for ecopharmacovigilance


Owing to the substantial consumption of caffeinated food, beverages, and medicines worldwide, caffeine is considered the most representative pharmaceutically active compound (PhAC) pollutant based on its high abundance in the environment and its suitability as an indicator of the anthropogenic inputs of PhACs in water bodies. This review presents a worldwide analysis of 132 reports of caffeine residues in freshwater environments. The results indicated that more than 70% of the studies reported were from Asia and Europe, which have densely populated and industrially developed areas. However, caffeine pollution was also found to affect areas isolated from human influence, such as Antarctica. In addition, the maximum concentrations of caffeine in raw wastewater, treated wastewater, river, drinking water, groundwater, lake, catchment, reservoir, and rainwater samples were reported to be 3.60 mg/L, 55.5, 19.3, 3.39, 0.683, 174, 44.6, 4.87, and 5.40 ?g/L, respectively. The seasonal variation in caffeine residues in the freshwater environment has been demonstrated. In addition, despite the fact that there was a small proportion of wastewater treatment plants in which the elimination rates of caffeine were below 60%, wastewater treatment is generally believed to have a high caffeine removal efficiency. From a pharmacy perspective, we proposed to adopt effective measures to minimize the environmental risks posed by PhACs, represented by caffeine, through a new concept known as ecopharmacovigilance (EPV). Some measures of EPV aimed at caffeine pollution have been advised, as follows: improving knowledge and perceptions about caffeine pollution among the public; listing caffeine as a high-priority PhAC pollutant, which should be targeted in EPV practices; promoting green design and production, rational consumption, and environmentally preferred disposal of caffeinated medicines, foods, and beverages; implementing intensive EPV measures in high-risk areas and during high-risk seasons; and integrating EPV into wastewater treatment programs.

Authors: Li S, Wen J, He B, Wang J, Hu X, Liu J
; Full Source: Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987). 2020 Mar 17;263(Pt B):114371. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114371. [Epub ahead of print]