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Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2005 Aug;42(3):313-23.

Exposure assessment and microcosm fate of selected selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

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  • 1Centre for Toxicology, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Ont., Canada.


The exposure and fate of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was evaluated using modeled predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) according to the U.S. and the European Union (EU) guidelines and microcosm model ecosystems. According to the U.S. guidance, crude environmental introduction concentrations, the only SSRI that would require environmental assessment would be sertraline. However, the more conservative EU draft guidance PEC would require further assessment of all five SSRIs. Refined PECs developed using the U.S. and the EU guidelines along with estimates of removal by sewage treatment and receiving water dilution factors indicate that the U.S. methodology corresponds better to MEC data determined in the U.S. and Canada. Worst-case (99th centile) PECs for citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline were 30, 19, 30, 65, and 122 ng/L, respectively, using the U.S. methodology and 142, 182, 841, 144, and 575 ng/L, respectively, using the EU draft methodology. The dissipation of fluoxetine and fluvoxamine from the water column in aquatic microcosms was best described using a two-compartment model while sertraline followed a one-compartment model. Fluoxetine and fluvoxamine water concentrations initially dissipated with first phase half-lives of 3.8 and 1.8 days, respectively, but levelled off at concentrations around 10 microg/L with second phase half-lives of 76.7 and 59.3 days, respectively, not including those estimated as infinity. Sertraline dissipation tended toward the detection limit with a half-life of 3.4 days. Fluoxetine was found to be the most persistent followed by fluvoxamine and sertraline. Estimated log(K(OC)) values for all SSRIs were >4.3 indicating that SSRIs are expected to adsorb to sediment or sludge. Partitioning into other environmental compartments such as this may act as a reservoir from which SSRIs may be re-released into surface waters and indicates the potential susceptibility of benthos.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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