Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2013;47(21):12297-304. doi: 10.1021/es4030035. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

Do concentrations of ethinylestradiol, estradiol, and diclofenac in European rivers exceed proposed EU environmental quality standards?

Author information

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, United Kingdom.


This study used a geographic based water model to predict the environmental concentrations of three pharmaceuticals, 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), 17β-estradiol (E2), and diclofenac throughout European rivers. The work was prompted by the proposal of the European Community (COM(2011)876) to consider these chemicals as candidates for future control via environmental quality standards (EQS). National drug consumption information, excretion, national water use, and sewage removal rates, were used to derive per capita sewage effluent values for the European countries . For E2, excretion rates of the natural hormone and national demographics were also included. Incorporating this information into the GWAVA model allowed water concentrations throughout Europe's rivers to be predicted. The mean concentration from the expected sewage discharge scenario indicated that 12% by length of Europe's rivers would reach concentrations greater than the proposed 0.035 ng/L EQS for EE2. For several countries, between a quarter and a third of their total river length would fail such an EE2 EQS. For E2, just over 1% by length of rivers would reach concentrations greater than the 0.4 ng/L proposed EQS, while just over 2% by length of rivers would reach concentrations greater than the proposed EQS of 100 ng/L for diclofenac.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center