The most commonly used drugs that we can find as residues in surface waters are painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, hormones used as contraceptives, anticancer drugs, those to combat insomnia and other behavioral disorders, those to treat gastrointestinal disorders.
These are products with a broad spectrum of pharmacological and toxicological activity which often keep unchanged, and which can also interact with each other giving rise to synergies and / or antagonisms. The consequences on the aquatic living organisms they encounter are largely unknown.
In some waterways there has been alterations in the sexual apparatus of fish which in fact limited their reproductive capacity. It has been hypothesized that the cause of the phenomenon was the presence in the water of the estrogens present in the contraceptive pills.
The Occurrence of antibiotics in rural drinking water and related human health risk assessment study, published on the Environmental technology, gives us an idea of what we can expect. Here is the abstract: "Antibiotic residues in drinking water can have a negative impact on both human and environmental health.
However, drinking water purification processes employed in rural areas are often less complicated than those used in urban areas. The occurrence of antibiotic residues in rural drinking water and their potential effects on residents' health remains to be established.
In this study, we measured antibiotic levels in rural drinking water using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS / MS), and evaluated the associated health risks based on Chinese population exposure parameters.
Twenty-three antibiotics were detected in drinking water samples, of which fluoroquinolones and macrolides were the most common. The type and concentration of antibiotics in drinking water were affected both by the quality of the water source and by the water purification process The health risks associated with antibiotics in drinking water were within acceptable levels an d likely to have little impact on human health.
Of the antibiotics detected, salinomycin presented the greatest risk to human health. These findings can help to play a role in devising strategies to ensure drinking water safety. "