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Titre du document / Document title

Environmental effects of human pharmaceuticals

Auteur(s) / Author(s)

SUMPTER John Phillip ;

Résumé / Abstract

In the last few years, it has been demonstrated that many human pharmaceuticals are present in the aquatic environment, albeit at very low concentrations. Nevertheless, in at least one case, that of ethinyl estradiol, it is very likely that in some locations ethinyl estradiol is adversely affecting fish through its "feminization" of males. Another pharmaceutical, diclofenac, has caused the deaths of millions of vultures in Southeast Asia through its use in veterinary medicine. Those examples have highlighted our lack of understanding of fate, behavior, and effects of pharmaceuticals once they reach the environment. It is unclear presently whether these are isolated examples or whether there is a more general problem. If wildlife are to be protected from the effects of current and new pharmaceuticals, then our knowledge and understanding of this issue need to improve substantially. The recent European Medicines Agency guidelines covering the environmental risk assessment of human pharmaceuticals are a step in the right direction, but a more sophisticated approach, rather than a "one-fits-all" solution, is probably needed. Recent collaboration between industry scientists and academic ecotoxicologists is undoubtedly an encouraging development that is likely to markedly increase the quality, and hence value, of research undertaken in this area.

Revue / Journal Title

Drug information journal    ISSN  0092-8615 

Source / Source

2007, vol. 41, no2, pp. 143-147 [5 page(s) (article)]

Langue / Language


Editeur / Publisher

Drug Information Association, Horsham, PA, ETATS-UNIS  (1972) (Revue)

Mots-clés d'auteur / Author Keywords



Ethinyl estradiol




Adverse effects


Aquatic environment


Localisation / Location

INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 15767, 35400014562996.0020

Nº notice refdoc (ud4) : 18628554

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