Dangerous levels of pharmaceuticals in Latvian and Lithuanian waters

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The presence of active substances of medicinal products in wastewater and water bodies in Latvia and Lithuania is dangerously high, Latvian and Lithuanian scientists have identified in the European Union (EU) project MEDWwater.

Representatives of MEDWwater told newswire LETA on May 10 that, while studying the presence of active substances in wastewater as well as in the rivers and water bodies of Latvia and Lithuania, scientists have concluded that in many places these substances are close to or above concentrations that have been considered to be environmentally safe.

The results of chemical tests reveal that the majority of water samples studied are dominated by active substances that are found in anti-inflammatory and painkiller drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and paracetamol.

In the summer and winter of last year, more than 60 wastewater samples were collected in Latvia and Lithuania from 16 wastewater treatment plants and similar water samples from different water bodies chosen by scientists. They were analyzed at the Klaipeda University Naval Research Institute.

Ieva Putna-Nīmane, a researcher at Daugavpils University said she had been convinced that active pharmaceuticals would be found in both sewage and rivers, but the amount is surprising. 

As part of the project, concentrations of 25 different pharmaceutical active substances found in Latvian and Lithuanian waters and wastewaters is to be determined.  “MEDWwater” is implemented from February 2021 until the end of 2022.

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