Breaking News
February 20, 2019 - Over Half of Hip Replacements Expected to Last 25 Years
February 20, 2019 - Microscopic eye movements affect how we see contrast
February 20, 2019 - Computer vs. patient: Fighting for residents’ attention | News Center
February 20, 2019 - New “Smart Drug” Shows Promise for Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
February 20, 2019 - Researchers develop large-scale window material for high-efficiency PM2.5 capture
February 20, 2019 - Widespread confusion among consumers on food date labels lead to unnecessary discards
February 20, 2019 - Researchers unlock plant’s secret of producing specialized metabolites
February 20, 2019 - Newly released national framework identifies obstacles to improving EMS systems
February 20, 2019 - Exercise can shift human body clock depending on time when people work out
February 20, 2019 - Female adolescent blood donors more likely to have iron deficiency and related anemia
February 20, 2019 - Rubicon level linked to inhibition of autophagic process
February 20, 2019 - Researchers find potential therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimer’s
February 20, 2019 - New forms of older anti-cancer agent appear to enhance immune response to fight melanoma
February 20, 2019 - Health Tip: Eat Less Saturated Fat
February 20, 2019 - Sleeping in contact lenses puts you at risk of dangerous infection
February 20, 2019 - “We should study that!”: How a nurse-scientist found her passion
February 20, 2019 - Cervical microbiome may influence HPV infection more than previously thought
February 20, 2019 - Sausage mislabeling in Canada is down, new study finds
February 20, 2019 - Study shows blood pressure benefits of morning exercise for older overweight/obese adults
February 20, 2019 - New screening method could catch organ rejection much earlier without a biopsy needle
February 20, 2019 - Study may have important implications for refining parenting during child’s adolescence
February 20, 2019 - Study sheds new light on how antibiotic resistance genes are transferred between bacteria
February 20, 2019 - Chronic Wasting Disease may soon spread to humans, warns CDC
February 20, 2019 - Scientists identify new genetic causes linked to abnormal pregnancies and miscarriages
February 20, 2019 - Using LyoSpeed technology to avoid residual solvent when drying HPLC fractions
February 20, 2019 - Scientists join forces to identify a new approach to fight African sleeping sickness
February 20, 2019 - New screening tool more likely to identify sexual and labor exploitation of youth
February 20, 2019 - Newly licensed nurses work for long hours, also have a second paid job
February 20, 2019 - Physicists identify simple mechanism used by deadly bacteria to fend off antibiotics
February 20, 2019 - FDA Grants Priority Review to Genentech’s Personalized Medicine Entrectinib
February 20, 2019 - Exposure to chemicals before and after birth is associated with a decrease in lung function
February 20, 2019 - Neuroscientists reveal that simple brain region can guide complex feats of mental activity
February 20, 2019 - Study finds new link between food allergies and multiple sclerosis
February 20, 2019 - First gene therapy operation for macular degeneration is a success
February 20, 2019 - Physicians graduated outside the U.S. offer better care for Medicare patients with complex needs
February 20, 2019 - Study shows therapeutic potential of VEGF-A mRNA for regenerative angiogenesis in humans
February 20, 2019 - FDA Approves Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for the Adjuvant Treatment of Patients with Melanoma with Involvement of Lymph Node(s) Following Complete Resection
February 20, 2019 - Study identifies brain cells that modulate behavioral response to threats
February 20, 2019 - Researchers take closer look at how viruses bind cells and cause infection
February 20, 2019 - Newly developed gene therapy helps decelerate aging process
February 20, 2019 - Study suggests new treatment strategy for deadly brain cancer
February 20, 2019 - Scientists develop unique hybrid implant that imitates bone structure
February 20, 2019 - Push-ups can be tailored to meet specific needs of individuals
February 20, 2019 - Early-career job loss has long term health implications
February 20, 2019 - CVD Does Not Modify Depression-Mortality Link in Elderly
February 20, 2019 - Electrical activity early in fruit flies’ brain development could shed light on how neurons wire the brain
February 20, 2019 - Machine learning technique helps predict which asthma patients respond to corticosteroid therapy
February 20, 2019 - Self-reported sleep duration is a useful tool to measure sleep in children, study suggests
February 20, 2019 - T-cells play key role in how the body fights follicular lymphoma
February 20, 2019 - Study shows how 3D organization of genetic material helps perpetuate the species
February 20, 2019 - Researchers engineer stem cell with ‘suicide genes’ to induce cell death in all but beta cells
February 20, 2019 - Study reveals major sex differences in management of cardiovascular risk factors among U.S. adults
February 20, 2019 - Health Tip: Get Your Child to School on Time
February 20, 2019 - Shortcut strategy for screening compounds with clinical potentials for drug development
February 20, 2019 - Common acid reflux drugs tied to elevated risk for kidney disease
February 20, 2019 - Microbiome could be culprit when good drugs do harm
February 20, 2019 - Prenatal exposure to forest fires causes stunted growth in children
February 20, 2019 - Gene therapy restores hearing in mice with congenital genetic deafness
February 20, 2019 - First molecular test predicts treatment response for kidney cancer
February 20, 2019 - New method for improved visualization of single-cell RNA- sequencing data
February 20, 2019 - Researchers capture altered brain activity patterns of Parkinson’s in mice
February 20, 2019 - A possible blood test for detecting Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms show
February 20, 2019 - Primary care physicians associated with longevity, new research finds
February 19, 2019 - New study identifies many key lessons to establish sanctioned safe consumption sites
February 19, 2019 - Single CRISPR treatment can safely and stably correct genetic disease
February 19, 2019 - Multinational initiative to study familial primary distal renal tubular acidosis
February 19, 2019 - Breakthrough study highlights the promise of cell therapies for muscular dystrophy
February 19, 2019 - Subsymptom Threshold Exercise Speeds Concussion Recovery
February 19, 2019 - Midline venous catheters – infants: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
February 19, 2019 - Searching for side effects
February 19, 2019 - Humanity is all right, probably, although human extinction remains quite possible, researcher says
February 19, 2019 - Having Anesthesia Once as a Baby Does Not Cause Learning Disabilities, New Research Shows
February 19, 2019 - Anti-cancer immunotherapy could be used to fight HIV
February 19, 2019 - Customized Micropatterning for Improved Physiological Relevance
February 19, 2019 - Unique gene therapy approach paves new way to tackle rare, inherited diseases
February 19, 2019 - Activating gene that helps excite neurons reverses depression in male mice
February 19, 2019 - Science Puzzling Out Differences in Gut Bacteria Around the World
February 19, 2019 - Cells that destroy the intestine
February 19, 2019 - On recovery, vulnerability and ritual: An exhibit in white
February 19, 2019 - Scientific Duo Gets Back To Basics To Make Childbirth Safer
Researchers propose new strategy to combat micro-pollutants in water

Researchers propose new strategy to combat micro-pollutants in water

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Pharmaceutical residues from domestic dwellings, hospitals and agriculture are contaminating our water. The introduction of a strategy to handle micro-pollutants aims to solve this problem in Germany in the future. However, the issue of how this is to be financed has to be addressed. One option would be the introduction of a payment scheme for the use of pharmaceutical products that pose a risk to water sources and supplies. For this reason, a mechanism for charging for pharmaceutical products, which takes into account both the legal and economic issues, has been discussed in greater detail in a scientific report produced by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research researchers for the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) in Germany.

The effects of the medicines we take often reach far beyond our bodies. This is because water treatment plants are currently unable to remove many of the pharmaceutical residues, such as hormones or the analgesic Diclofenac, from waste water. These residues are more or less impervious to the treatment process, and therefore pass into the “treated” waste water and then into the environment. Residues of prescribed veterinary medicines are also a problem in the agricultural industry. They pass into animal manure, which is spread on the fields, where the rain washes it into rivers and into the ground water. These micro-pollutants can damage aquatic organisms and represent a serious environmental problem. And that’s not all: they can even pass through the drinkable water barrier, and might well have negative effects on our health. So, what can we do to curb the incursion of micro-pollutants into our water?

Of course, it would be a good idea just to avoid using substances that pollute water in the first place. Nevertheless, this is not always possible – especially when it comes to medicine. However, there is a technical solution: “As part of a policy mix the “fourth treatment stage”, as we call it, is a proven method for removing the majority of micro-pollutants from waste water. It can simply be implemented after the three standard treatment stages in selected waste water treatment plants”, explained Prof. Erik Gawel from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. “This involves mature technology, which is available at an acceptable cost.” However, the question of how to finance the installation of this fourth treatment stage at selected waste water treatment plants in Germany needs to be resolved, unless everything is to be paid for by sewerage charges. The introduction of a charging scheme for pharmaceutical products is discussed here, as a means of making manufacturers take some responsibility before the residues enter the water system.

At the request of the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), Erik Gawel and his colleagues at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research have written a report in which they described a strategy for charging for pharmaceutical products, taking into account all the legal and commercial issues involved. “From a legal point of view, introducing a charging scheme for pharmaceutical products wouldn’t cause any particular legal problems and it would actually make good economic sense,” said the environmental economist. “Tax revenues could also provide adequate finance for retro-fitting the fourth treatment stage in selected waste water treatment plants throughout Germany.” Although it would be possible to finance this through taxation, or increasing the sewerage charge for the treatment plants involved, the scientist thinks this option would be unfair. “The production and use of substances that damage our water generate costs that polluters should bear. But why should all taxpayers have to foot the bill?”, asked Gawel. “From our point of view, making the polluters the ones who pay would be fairer. And only increasing sewerage charges for the upgraded treatment plants would simply be arbitrary, because pharmaceutical residues affect our water everywhere.”

The researchers have proposed a three-tier tariff for handling water pollutants: if it is unclear whether a pharmaceutical product actually causes damage to water, either the manufacturer or its delivery point (e.g. pharmacy) must pay a charge for the product’s potential effect on water, as a precaution. An increased fee would be charged if it is clear that the product is a water pollutant. However, if it can be proven that the pharmaceutical product does not have any damaging effects on water, no fee would be charged for its active ingredients. “Manufacturers would have to prove that their products were not harmful to water”, said Gawel. “However, strict legal requirements would apply to the test processes used by the manufacturers.” The researchers also considered the possibility of having the contributory payment for human medicines reimbursed by health insurance companies. “This might only involve a very small, trivial amount of money, maybe as little as 50 Euro cents”, said Gawel. “The primary intention is to create an awareness that the use of pharmaceutical products containing substances that are hazardous to water generates additional costs for society as a whole. If the contributory payment option was implemented, it would not be applicable in the case of this trivial amount.”

In their report, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research researchers strongly advocate the introduction of a charging scheme for pharmaceutical products as one of a range of mechanisms for financing the fourth treatment stage, and providing an effective, reasonably priced means of solving the problem of micro-pollutants. A comparable pesticide tax could make the case for micro-pollutants stemming from plant protection measures as well. “A charge on products ending up in micro-pollutants would make good commercial sense, would be legally possible, and also be very fair, in terms of its social impact”, said Gawel. “Until now, the pharmaceutical industry has taken little responsibility for the damage that residues of its products have caused to our water sources and water supplies. Charging for pharmaceutical products would have an important compensatory function as part of a comprehensive strategy for combating micro-pollutants in Germany.”

Source:

http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=36336&webc_pm=21/2018

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles