Medicine residues in drinking water is a topic in the German Bundestag

Medicine residues in drinking water is a topic in the German Bundestag

In January, the German Bundestag received a report from the Office of Technology Assessment. The topic: Pharmaceutical residues in drinking water.

Due to the increasing consumption of medicines by humans and animals, residues are increasingly accumulating in the environment and thus also in water bodies. The report notes that there are still major gaps in knowledge. For example, there is a lack of comprehensive monitoring of micropollutants and their effects. In general, the report is an inventory of existing quantities and concentrations of pharmaceuticals and shows trends in this development. The effects are discussed as well as possible prevention and reduction strategies.

In summary, the report shows that the quantity of veterinary and human medicines is increasing. Nevertheless, it shows that there is insufficient data on the use of veterinary medicinal products in particular. Concentrations of up to 10 µg/l have been measured in soils, surface waters and sewage treatment plant effluents. These values are significantly higher compared to measurements in drinking water. Although the report states that there is no chronic health risk, vigilance is needed in risk groups. This concerns pregnant women, infants and senior citizens.

There are also risks for biotopes due to the residues in the water, which for example affect metabolism or reproduction. For further statements, however, additional data and measurements are required, not only by means of model calculations, but also in nature.