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Leaching of Pharmaceuticals in Soil Columns amended with Sludge
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Toxicology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Occurrence of pharmaceutical residues in surface and ground waters, used as a source for drinking water supply has been studied over the years. Wastewater treatment plants are generally not efficient enough to remove pharmaceuticals from wastewater and sewage sludge. As a result, they are released into the environment mainly via effluent discharges to surface water bodies, the reuse of biosolids in agriculture as soil amendment, and the disposal of biosolids to landfill areas.

The aim of this study was to investigate the leaching behavior of pharmaceuticals from several therapeutic groups (i.e. atorvastatin, bicalutamide, carbamazepine, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, losartan, oxazepam, valsartan, and venlafaxine) using undisturbed soil columns (loamy sand, loam, and clay) and disturbed soil columns (till mixed with peat) amended with sewage sludge at laboratory-scale. The experiment was performed under controlled conditions to gain a better understanding of the leaching behavior of pharmaceuticals in the natural environment. Another objective was to single out the pharmaceuticals with the highest leaching potential (i.e. carbamazepine, hydrochlorothiazide, oxazepam, and valsartan) in order to analyze their effects on the environment based on earlier studies on the subject. Oxazepam, for example, has shown to have effects on fish such as increased feeding rate and activity.

Leachate analysis show that, in general, pharmaceuticals leach slower in loamy sand compared to loam and clay which might be due to macro pores and funnel flow in the loamy and clayish soil which enhance the leaching rate. The accumulated mass (µg) in the leachate from clay (13) were also higher than in loam (5.7), loamy sand (2.6), and the till and peat (0) soil.  This indicates that the slow leaching of pharmaceuticals in loamy sand, and till and peat might enhance the sorption or degradation of pharmaceuticals compared to clay and loam.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 49 p.
Keyword [en]
Pharmaceuticals, soil, sludge, risk assessment
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-258212OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-258212DiVA: diva2:841234
External cooperation
Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet
Subject / course
Educational program
Master of Science Programme in Pharmacy
Available from: 2016-10-07 Created: 2015-07-10 Last updated: 2016-10-07Bibliographically approved

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