Considering how the impact of human activity in Antarctica is growing, the aim of this study was to conduct the first assessment of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), other emerging contaminants (ECs), and antibiotic resistance genes present in the western shore of the Admiralty Bay region of King George Island. In total, more than 170 substances were evaluated to assess the potential environmental risks they pose to the study area. The major evaluated source of pollutants in this study is discharged untreated wastewater. The highest PPCP concentrations in wastewater were found for naproxen (2653 ngL˗1), diclofenac (747 ngL˗1), ketoconazole (760 ngL˗1), ibuprofen (477 ngL˗1) and acetaminophen (332 ngL˗1). Moreover, the concentrations of benzotriazole (6340 ngL˗1) and caffeine (3310 ngL˗1) were also high. The Risk Quotient values indicate that azole antifungals (ketoconazole), anti-inflammatories (diclofenac, ibuprofen) and stimulants (caffeine) are the main groups responsible for the highest toxic burden. In addition, antibiotic resistance genes integrons (int 1) and sulphonamide resistance genes (sul 1–2) were detected in wastewater and seawater. These results indicate that regular monitoring of PPCPs and other ECs is of great importance in this environment. Additionally, the following mitigation strategies are suggested: (1) to create a centralised record of the medications prescribed and consumed in situ (to improve knowledge of potential contaminants without analysis); (2) to use more environmentally friendly substitutes both for pharmaceuticals and personal care products when possible (limiting consumption at the source); and (3) to apply advanced systems for wastewater treatment before discharge to the recipient (end-of-pipe technologies as a final barrier).
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Environmental Sciences (10502)
- Anthropogenic pollutants
- Antibiotic resistance genes
- Environmental risk assessment
- Maritime Antarctica
- Mitigation measures
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Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern in Admiralty Bay as a result of untreated wastewater discharge: status and possible environmental consequences
Szopinska, M. (Creator), Potapowicz, J. (Creator), Jankowska, K. (Creator), Luczkiewicz, A. (Creator), Svahn, O. (Creator), Björklund, E. (Creator), Nannou, C. (Creator), Lambropoulou, D. (Creator) & Polkowska, Ż. (Creator), Elsevier, 2022