Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

Overview > About the Project

About the Project

ImageThis is a database of available information on the general chemistry and toxicology of potential environmental levels of pharmaceuticals. This information will allow users to quickly assess the hazards these drugs might pose to aquatic resources. Also, the paucity of information for many often prescribed drugs may help focus future research.

Most drugs pass through a user’s body unmetabolized. Large quantities of drugs are administered to both pets and livestock. These chemicals, which are often designed to be inherently toxic, enter waterways through direct runoff and through discharge of treated sewage. Frequently, sewage treatment does not affect the chemical structure, and therefore, the toxicity of drugs. Consequently, pharmaceuticals often enter the environment at levels similar to better studied agrochemicals.

Understanding the factors that affect loading into adjacent waterways is necessary for both estimating and reducing impacts.

Literature Review

To obtain this information, a literature review was conducted during 2005 using the following key words in online chemical databases, scientific literature, manufacturer information, regulatory agency data, and Internet search engines.

  • antibiotic toxicity
  • CAS number
  • chemical name
  • chemical characteristics database
  • chemical formula
  • chemical parameter
  • commercial drug name
  • detection
  • EC50
  • LC50
  • MSDS
  • persistence
  • pharmaceuticals in the environment
  • pharmaceutical persistence
  • pharmaceutical toxicity
  • toxicity

We do not imply that this is a comprehensive database. We may update the data as new sources are identified. All users are asked to supply additional data sources by using the contact information page.

Please note: Although we have made attempts to verify all data, some of the primary sources were not available.

Project Status

ImageInformation useful for estimating the relative toxicological risk of pharmaceuticals in the environment is available in an easily queried format. The pharmaceuticals within the database represent the top 200 prescribed in the US during either 2003 or 2004 supplemented by all other known antibacterial and antilipemic drugs as these are of particular interest to our research program.

The database currently has information on a total of 349 drugs representing 304 unique active ingredients.