335 Pharmaceutically Active Compounds (PhACs) in Canada Drinking Water Pose Negligible Risk

Khan U, Nicell J. Human Health Relevance of Pharmaceutically Active Compounds in Drinking Water. AAPS J. 2015 Mar 5. 

In Canada, as many as 20 pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) have been detected in samples of treated drinking water. The presence of these PhACs in drinking water raises important questions as to the human health risk posed by their potential appearance in drinking water supplies and the extent to which they indicate that other PhACs are present but have not been detected using current analytical methods. Therefore, the goal of the current investigation was to conduct a screening-level assessment of the human health risks posed by the aquatic release of an evaluation set of 335 selected PhACs. Predicted and measured concentrations were used to estimate the exposure of Canadians to each PhAC in the evaluation set. Risk evaluations based on measurements could only be performed for 17 PhACs and, of these, all were found to pose a negligible risk to human health when considered individually. The same approach to risk evaluation, but based on predicted rather than measured environmental concentrations, suggested that 322 PhACs of the evaluation set, when considered individually, are expected to pose a negligible risk to human health due to their potential presence in drinking waters. However, the following 14 PhACs should be prioritized for further study: triiodothyronine, thyroxine, ramipril and its metabolite ramiprilat, candesartan, lisinopril, atorvastatin, lorazepam, fentanyl, atenolol, metformin, enalaprilat, morphine, and irbesartan. Finally, the currently available monitoring data for PhACs in Canadian surface and drinking waters was found to be lacking, irrespective of whether their suitability was assessed based on risk posed, predicted exposure concentrations, or potency.

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