Research Article: Developmental toxicity of pharmaceuticals in lower vertebrates

Date Published: February 24, 2012

Publisher: BioMed Central

Author(s): Cecilia Berg, Björn Brunström, Ingvar Brandt.


Partial Text

The release of human pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment has become an issue of societal concern. More than 160 Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) have been detected in surface waters, although generally at low concentrations (ng-ug/l). Most available ecotoxicological information on these pharmaceuticals originates from acute testing using algae, Daphnia and fish; results from long-term exposures are still very scarce, particularly in vertebrates. There is, however, emerging evidence to suggest that several human and veterinary pharmaceuticals may pose a serious threat to aquatic wildlife. Still, there are only two examples where exposure to pharmaceuticals has been indisputably linked to adverse effects in wild vertebrates, i.e. the feminizing effects of the synthetic estrogen ethinylestradiol (EE2) in fish and the decline in vulture populations caused by the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac in India and Pakistan.