Thursday, November 17, 2016

Researchers urge more regulation over pharmaceutical pollution in Britain's rivers

Pharmaceutical pollution in some of Britain's rivers has reached a worrying level, and researchers urged more regulation to address the issue, according to a study released Wednesday by the University of Leeds.

Over an 18-month period, researchers from the University of Leeds sampled water from the rivers Aire and Calder in West Yorkshire to examine the presence of a range of drugs.

The team found that in 46 percent of the samples the concentration of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac was more than double the limit proposed by the European Commission.

"The scale of the problem is clear when we compare with pesticides in the UK, which exceed the threshold for only six percent of samples monitored," said Dr Lee Brown, from the university and one of the authors of the study.

The team also found that releases of drugs in the untreated sewage significantly contributed to the pharmaceutical pollution in rivers.

"It's worrying how little legislation exists for pharmaceuticals in our rivers. Pharmaceuticals are an important environmental pollutant and they should be added to and regulated under existing policies," said Dr Paul Kay, from the university and also one of the authors of the study.

The study has been published in the journal Environmental Pollution.

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