Neuroactive Pharmaceuticals In Aquatic Ecosystems: Are We Doing Enough To Protect Environmental Health? Policy Brief

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Abstract

Healthy rivers are vital for biodiversity as well as human health and wellbeing; however, contamination of surface waters by pharmaceuticals is an emerging problem globally. Of increasing concern is the release of neuroactive pharmaceuticals into the environment, some of which can bioaccumulate in fish and reach blood concentrations high enough to exert pharmacological effects, leading to the potential perturbation of wildlife behaviour. Work at King’s College London led by Dr Margiotta-Casaluci, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, aims to integrate complex multidimensional data to better understand the environmental and toxicological dimensions of the problem. Most of the studies investigating the potential environmental effects of neuroactive substances consider one compound at the time; however, tens of neuroactive pharmaceuticals are simultaneously present in our rivers, increasing the risk of possible mixture effects. A scientifically-sound and pharmacology-informed prioritization approach is essential to systemically identify the compounds that drive the overall risk. Novel inter-disciplinary strategies are urgently needed to predict and interpret the wider ecological implications of chemical-induced disruption of wildlife behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherKing's College London
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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