Pharmaceutical compounds and endocrine disruptors in aquatic environments: ecotoxicological effects and analysis methodology
Currently, there is an urgent need to strengthen the scientific knowledge and to adopt the most appropriate means to monitor the emerging pollutants in different water and wastewater sources and at the same time to evaluate their actions and risks on human health. Emerging contaminants (ECs) or pollutants (EPs) are, in the widest sense, any synthetic or natural compound or any microorganism that is not ussualy found or monitored in the environment, with potentially known or suspected ecotoxicological and negative effects on human health. Among the EPs, pharmaceuticals and personal care products are well-known for their adverse reactions. Among pharmaceutical compounds, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, cefuroxime, ciprofloxacin etc. are recognized as a class of emerging contaminants due to the fact that these compounds have been massively administered to humans and animals and usually persist in the environment through a complex vicious cycle of biotransformation and bioaccumulation. Two other classes of emerging pollutants - endocrine disruptors and contraceptives - are compounds that can mimic or interfere with the normal function of hormones in the body. These substances can turn on, stop or alter the signals that hormones carry, which can in turn affect the normal functions of the body. As regards of pharmaceuticals, a set of programs has been launched in EU Member States to reduce the risks that they pose to human health and the environment, here including several comprehensive monitoring programs. In the light of the new regulations and the concerns regarding the presence of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment, the experimental design is a very important step in achieving the detection of selected compounds, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, endocrine disruptors and contraceptives, in the Romanian aquatic natural ecosystems. In this paper we highlighted the ecotoxicological effects of selected ECs and EPs, as well as the proposed methodology for their analysis. Part of this review was presented at the MONITOX International Symposium „Deltas and Wetlands”, Tulcea, Romania, 15-17 September, 2019.