Pharmaceutical Drugs Pathways, Risks and Controlling Disposal to Environment

By Gamal E. Omer Elhag-Idris, MCIC, C.Chem , and Nedam Abed, Ph.D., P.Eng.


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Pharmaceutical drugs, or more broadly, pharmaceutical and personal care products, have become an essential part of our daily life. The daily use of these products is always on the rise due to improvements in life quality, increased income, population growth and other social factors. It is a fact that a good portion of daily consumption finds its way to the surrounding environment due to different factors (misusage, discarding, uncontrolled disposal, etc.). Hence, it is necessary to understand and assess the potential effects of these drugs or PPCPs on the environment, and yet be aware of their metabolism. The exact effect of such consumer goods is still much unknown and there is a necessity to have a better insight on that. PPCPs, in general, refer to any product used for personal health care or cosmetic reasons or that used by agribusiness. PPCPs include prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs, veterinary drugs, fragrances, lotions, cosmetics and others (1, 2). When PPCPs enter water, they are also known as endocrine disruptors.

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