Hazardous substances

Although our society strives to minimise our impact on our planet, a wide array of hazardous substances, in form of pharmaceutical residues, still reach our Ecosystem through the sewer system. 

In order to draw the right conclusions regarding the best approach to treat our organic waste, it is critical to measure and evaluate these pollutants through credible organisations.

Pharmaceutical residues

Pharmaceutical residues are normally referring to the biologically active residues from medical consumption.

These residues are included as ingredients in a plethora of medicines, and are called API’s or Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. API’s are carefully designed to help us recover from sickness and diseases, but due to their design they may also have a negative side effects when released into the nature. . 

There are several different pharmaceutical residues that are considered harmful for the environment, and they are found in many of the more common groups of medicines such as antibiotics, painkillers, anti-inflammatory, birth control pills, anti-depressants etc.

Environmental Classification & Risk

The assessment of the hazard of pharmacologically active substances is based on the characteristics referred to PBT-Score

  • Persistence: ability to resist degradation in the aquatic environment.
  • Bioaccumulation: accumulation in tissue of aquatic organisms.
  • Toxicity: the potential to poison aquatic organisms.

The PBT-score for pharmaceutical residues is normally defined using various of OECD Test Guidelines.

Some suggest that the PBT-score is to some extent misleading and an emerging standpoint is that we need to combine PBT-Score with findings from other reported studies. This will instead define the Environmental Risk of a substance.

Environmental Risk

The environmental risk relates to the likelihood of toxic effects on aquatic organisms. This risk refers to how a substance is evaluated and then given a score by comparing exposure and toxicity. 

Exposure can either be based on the pharmaceutical substance current or expected use if it is newly registered. 

The risk depends on how much pharmaceutical substance is used and how much of it reaches nature. An increased or decreased use could mean change in the resulting risk. 

The risk can be stated as:

  • Insignificant
  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High
  • Cannot be excluded

pCure sources and continuously updates information about hazardous substances from 

  • governmental organizations
  • industry organizations
  • published papers 

The needs for optimal treatment of pharmaceutical residues may vary depending on the country and regional needs. To make attractive products for as many as possible, pCure takes many factors into account when developing the products.

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