Pharmaceuticals in the Environment


Pharmaceuticals in the Environment

ImageWelcome to the Pharmaceuticals in the Environment, Information for Assessing Risk website. This is designed to provide available information for assessing risks to aquatic resources from drugs entering waterways from both point and non-point sources.

Pharmaceuticals are often both very toxic and resistant to chemical treatment. They are frequently discharged from sewage treatment plants unaltered and enter aquatic environments at concentrations approximating well studied agricultural pesticides. However, relatively little is known about the risks posed to aquatic organisms. This website provides available information useful for assessing those risks.

For more about this project, please view the project overview.

This site includes information on frequently prescribed drugs as well as most antibiotics and lipid-lowering drugs. You can search the database by:

  • Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number
  • Name of Contaminant
  • Molecular Formula
  • Pharmaceutical Type

Contents of the Database

The database provides information on prescribed amounts, levels detected in aquatic environments, chemical structure, molecular weight, octanol-water partition coefficients, water solubility, environmental persistence, general toxicity information and specific toxicity levels to five groups of organisms (algae, mollusks, finfish, crustaceans, and select terrestrial animals).

Toxicity to terrestrial animals is provided as a general comparison to a large body of available toxicological literature. All of this information was obtained from available scientific literature and is provided to assist identifying locations where risks to aquatic organisms might occur.


We do not imply that this is a comprehensive database. We may update the data as new sources are identified. Please contact us if you find errors in the data provided. Reasonable effort was made to accurately describe source data, and all values were reviewed by a team of scientists.

However, users are cautioned that some methods were not adequately described in the source references. All users are advised to consult the original reference before using these data.