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Pharmaceuticals in irrigation water: the role of the soil in the natural attenuation of health risk

On the occasion of World Soil Day (December 5), the research group Soil and Water Quality in the Environment (SWQ) of IMDEA Water has published Pharmaceuticals in irrigation water: role of soil in the natural attenuation of health risk in the Red Remedia Blog.

Understanding the interactions in the water-sediment-soil-plant system is crucial to achieve water and food security. A recent study by the SWQ group within the FatePharM Project, entitled Pharmaceuticals and trace metals in the surface water used for crop irrigation: risk to health or natural attenuation?, published in open access in Science of the Total Environment, evaluates the presence in the environment of trace metals and pharmaceuticals of different therapeutic groups (antibiotics, hormones, anti-inflammatories, etc.) during their pathway from the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to crops. The data shows that concentration of those pharmaceutical detected in the crop are very low and, currently, there is no any health risk. Recently, the results of this research have also been presented at the 2nd International Conference on risk assessment of pharmaceuticals in the environment (ICRAPHE 2019), the XIV Workshop of the Unsaturated Zone (ZNS 2019) and the Sustainable Use and Management of Soil, Sediment and Water Resources 15th International Conference (AQUACONSOIL 2019).

 

FatePharMThe FatePharM project “Irrigation of crops with surface water contaminated with pharmaceuticals and trace metals: natural attenuation or health risk?” arises from the need to determine if the indirect reuse of surface water impacted by WWTP effluents in agriculture can represent a risk to human health or if natural attenuation processes prevent the spread of contaminants in the water-sediment-soil-plant system. FatePharM is funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and is coordinated by the researchers Ana de Santiago Martín and Raffaella Meffe.

Reference: de Santiago-Martín, A., Meffe, R., Teijón, G., Martínez-Hernández, V., López-Heras, I., Alonso Alonso, C., Arenas Romasanta, M., de Bustamante, I. (2019) Pharmaceuticals and trace metals in the surface water used for crop irrigation: risk to health or natural attenuation? Science of the Total Environment (in press).

For more information on the FatePharM Project (CTM2017-89995-R AEI / FEDER, EU), visit the website of the Soil and Water Quality in the Environment research group.