The consumption of medicines is increasing. Most of the pharmaceutical substances taken by humans and animals are excreted and can be found in many water bodies and partly even in groundwater.
Currently, based on existing studies, an acute or chronic health risk from pharmaceutical substances in drinking water can be excluded. However, there are strong indications
that pharmaceutical residues in combination with other micropollutants affect aquatic communities.
Overall, there are still gaps of knowledge with regard to the occurrence and effects of pharmaceutical residues in the environment.
With a series of measures, it is possible to reduce the discharge of pharmaceutical substances into the aquatic environment – without compromising health protection.
Here, a combination of different measures seems to make sense. In this context, there is an intense debate focusing on the upgrading of large sewage treatment plants with a fourth treatment stage.
It is necessary to consider which tangible measures should be taken within the framework of a comprehensive micropollutant strategy that is to be pursued.