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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Jul 1;41(13):4669-76.

Selecting scenarios to assess exposure of surface waters to veterinary medicines in Europe.

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  • 1Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.


Registering a veterinary medicinal product (VMP) in the European Union requires assessing its potential to contaminate surface waters (SW) on a European scale. VMP are spread to land in manure or excreted during grazing and may enter SW through runoff, erosion, or leaching. Since the factors driving these processes vary largely across Europe, it is necessary to identify characteristic conditions, so-called scenarios, under which VMP enter SW. These scenarios may guide the parameterization of mechanistic fate models to predict environmental concentrations for environmental risk assessment. A number of such scenarios for pesticides and VMP have been developed rather pragmatically. Here, we describe how a geo-referenced European database of driving factors was used to divide the European environment into groups with similar conditions for SW contamination by VMP. Out of these groups, relevant exposure scenarios in Europe were selected by a simple scoring system. Comparing these to the existing scenarios showed that a number of situations are not well covered. The newly identified scenarios are primarily located in hilly areas of Central Europe and the Mediterranean, and in Eastern European plains with a continental climate. We recommend that they are included in the technical guidelines for higher-tier assessment of VMP.

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