In English

Environmental Risk Assessment of Pharmaceutical Exposure to Fish in the Swedish Göta Älv River

Anna Furberg
Göteborg : Chalmers tekniska högskola, 2014. 92 s. Report - Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology; 2014:9, 2014.
[Examensarbete på avancerad nivå]

The exposure and chronic effects from pharmaceuticals to the assessment endpoint of fish in the Swedish Göta Älv river have been assessed in this study. More specifically, human pharmaceuticals emitted down-the-drain reaching the aquatic environment through waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) have been considered. Both effects of individual pharmaceuticals and mixture effects were evaluated. The geographical exposure of pharmaceuticals was modelled with the Geo-referenced Regional Environmental Assessment Tool for European Rivers (GREAT-ER) and mixture effects were calculated using the concept of concentration addition as a conservative first tier. A habitat comparison was performed by comparing the locations with high concentrations of pharmaceuticals to the locations of known fish habitats. The modelling results were also validated by comparison with measurements of concentrations performed in Swedish rivers. In total, 12 pharmaceuticals were studied; diclofenac, propranolol, carbamazepine, ethinylestradiol, ibuprofen, metoprolol, gemfibrozil, estradiol, paracetamol, sertraline, verapamil and estrone. These pharmaceuticals have all been detected in Swedish waters and highlighted in studies performed by the Region of Västra Götaland (VGR) and the Swedish environmental research institute (IVL). The results from this study indicated that the pharmaceuticals, when considered individually, in general might not cause adverse effects to the fish in the Göta Älv river. An exception was gemfibrozil, which may cause adverse effects to fish in some parts of the river. However, when mixture effects were considered, it could be established that adverse effects may occur in parts of the river and that the concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the mixture in general are close to the level at which adverse effects are expected to occur. Two parts of the Göta Älv river catchment were identified as the parts with the highest concentrations of the studied pharmaceuticals. These parts are the tributary Gårdaån in connection to Nygård WWTP and a part close to Älvängen. The habitat comparison showed that these parts are known habitats for the fish species considered. There are uncertainties in these results due to lack of and uncertainties in data, especially in chronic toxicity data for the assessment endpoints Salmo salar and Salmo trutta. However, the results can serve as an indication of risk for chronic effects to fish in the Göta Älv river and of the importance of considering mixture effects. Further studies providing site-specific measurements would be required in order to confirm these results.

Nyckelord: Exposure assessment, effect assessment, GREAT-ER, mixture toxicity, concentration addition, ecological risk assessment, chemical risk assessment

Publikationen registrerades 2014-09-04. Den ändrades senast 2017-03-21

CPL ID: 202348

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