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16th February 2021

Pharmaceuticals in the water environment: baseline assessment and recommendations

Data from a range of sources including published and grey literature, internal company and regulatory datasets were examined. Researchers at other Scottish Higher Education Institutes and the James Hutton Institute were also approached directly to provide relevant data. Mean concentrations for each monitored location were assessed against threshold values for environmental (ecotoxicological) risk and, for antibiotics, against threshold values above which the substance might act a driver for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). About half of all surface water data pertained to samples targeting high-risk settings, such as immediately downstream from a wastewater treatment works rather than ‘typical’ environmental concentrations in the water body. This enabled a worst case baseline position to be established.