Origins and fate of pharmaceuticals in the environment
Recent studies conducted show that pharmaceutical products have been detected in surface, ground and drinking waters in Europe and worldwide, raising concerns about potential impacts on human health and the environment. Pharmaceuticals can enter the environment at many points during their lifetime, from production through use. In the course of normal use, medications are taken by patients, metabolized within the body and subsequently excreted. Although human excretion is considered to be a main factor contributing to the environmental loading of pharmaceuticals, improper disposal practices can contribute to this problem, for example, when pharmaceuticals end up in the water cycle as a result of inappropriate household disposal via the sink or toilet.