Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Ramifications of an Ageing Population on the Quality of Freshwater Resources
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Ramifications of an Ageing Population
Name: Fabio Bacci
T: 353 (0)21 490-1944
F: 353 (0)21 490-1932
Project Title: Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Ramifications of an Ageing Population on the Quality of Freshwater Resources
Funding Body: Irish Research Council
Programme: EMBARK Initiative
Project Type: PhD
Period: Oct 2012 – Sept 2015
Human survival to old age is today a common occurrence. Advancement in medical intervention and therapeutic treatment firstly tamed many transmittable diseases, and subsequently medicalised society in the quest toward prevention and treatment of degenerative diseases. Today the onset of morbidity at population level has been successfully postponed, thanks to increasingly earlier diagnosis and preventative treatment of prevalent degenerative diseases.
Management of degenerative disease often entails long-term treatment. Drugs consumed to prevent and treat these illnesses are excreted from the human body at different concentrations, either as parent compound or metabolite, and some make it into wastewater effluents. The resulting emissions into the environment pose a growing concern for human and ecological health. Hazard can occur from chronic exposure to trace levels of pharmaceuticals and exposure to pharmaceutical mixtures, whereas risk arises for organisms inhabiting aquatic habitats and humans consuming untreated water abstracted from private wells.
This project focuses on the pressure exerted by the ageing population on the quality of freshwater resources. Using GIS as the main tool, spatial predictions of present and projected pharmaceutical emissions into freshwater are investigated. The objective is to inform on potentially hazardous concentrations and possible mixtures of pharmaceuticals in freshwater compartments.
Bacci, F. and D. V. Chapman (2011). "Microbiological assessment of private drinking water supplies in Co. Cork, Ireland." Journal of Water and Health,9(4): 738-751.