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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2006 Jan;63(1):113-30. Epub 2005 Jan 25.

Excretion and ecotoxicity of pharmaceutical and personal care products in the environment.

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Biological Sciences Department, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210006, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0006, USA.


The presence and fate of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment is undergoing increasing scrutiny. The existing clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics data for 81 common compounds were examined for cues of ecotoxicity. Of these the proportions excreted were available for 60 compounds (i.e., 74%). The compounds had a low (< or =0.5%), a moderately low (6-39%), a relatively high (40-69%), or a high (> or =70%) proportion of the parent compound excreted. More than half of the compounds evaluated have low or moderately low proportions of the parent compound excreted. However, the proportions excreted were negatively but moderately correlated (r = -0.50; n = 13; P = 0.08) with the concentrations of the compounds in the aquatic environment, suggesting that the compounds that have low proportions excreted may also have inherently low degradability in the environment. Solubility, logK(ow), and pKa work well in predicting the behavior of PPCPs under clinical conditions and have been used in the environmental assessment of PPCPs prior to approval. However, these parameters did not correlate with the proportion of PPCPs excreted in the environment or their concentration in the environment, underscoring the need for research into the behavior of PPCPs in the environment. PPCPs occur in low concentrations in the environment and are unlikely to elicit acute toxicity. An ecotoxicity potential that is based on chronic toxicity, bioavailability, and duration of exposure to nontarget organisms is described as a guide in assessing the potency of these compounds in the environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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