Health effects and risks associated with the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in marine organisms and seafood

Highlights

  • Pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are found in marine organisms and seafood.
  • The present review presented their toxic effects on marine organisms.
  • Toxic effects are sometimes enhanced by ocean acidification and salinity contents.
  • Lack of marine-based studies was observed in rural areas and developing countries.
  • Mixtures of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are commonly found in seafoods.

Abstract

Pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are continuously invading the marine environment due to their input from the land such as their disposal into the drains and sewers which is mostly followed by their transfer into wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Their incomplete removal in WWTPs introduces pharmaceuticals into oceans and surface water. To date, various pharmaceuticals and their metabolites have been detected in marine environment. Their occurrence in marine organisms raises concerns regarding toxic effects and development of drug resistant genes. Therefore, it is crucial to review the health effects and risks associated with the presence of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in marine organisms and seafood. This is an important study area which is related to the availability of seafood and its quality. Hence, this study provides a critical review of the information available in literature which relates to the occurrence and toxic effects of pharmaceuticals in marine organisms and seafood. This was initiated through conducting a literature search focussing on articles investigating the occurrence and effects of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in marine organisms and seafood. In general, most studies on the monitoring of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in marine environment are conducted in well developed countries such as Europe while research in developing countries is still limited. Pharmaceuticals present in freshwater are mostly found in seawater and marine organisms. Furthermore, the toxicity caused by different pharmaceutical mixtures was observed to be more severe than that of individual compounds.

Madikizela L. M. & Ncube S., 2022. Health effects and risks associated with the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in marine organisms and seafood. Science of the Total Environment: 155780. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155780. Article (subscription required).

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