Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-05-11
|55-year-old environmental protection worker Hu Yuanbao picks up trash on the|
shore near the mouth of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, July 4, 2013.
China's surface waters have been polluted by multiple pharmaceutical and personal care products including 68 types of antibiotics and 90 types of non-antibiotics, reports Beijing-based Caixin Media, one of the country's leading financial news providers, citing a joint study by the East China University of Science and Technology, Tongji University and Tsinghua University published in Chinese science journal Science China on April 28.
Pharmaceutical and personal care products are micro-organic pollutants that have raised concern among both academics and the public due to their effect on human health and the environment. The substances have been found in wastewater, surface water, ground water and soil. The United Nations Environment Programme has expressed concern over the influence of these products such as painkillers and antibiotics on water resources.
The frequency and the concentration of these products found in surface water in China has been much higher than they have in Western countries. Antibiotics Sulfamethoxazole and Sulfapyridine have been found in samples from the Huangpu River. All the samples taken from the river during low water period have traces of sulfamethoxazole with concentrations ranging between 14.9 to 623.3 nanograms, much higher than those recorded in Japan and the United States.
Although less than 60% of the samples taken contained non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals and personal care products, many common medicines such as anti-inflammatory medicines, anticonvulsant drugs, hormones and medicines used to lower blood pressure, blood lipids and reduce bacteria were found in the samples.
These findings suggest severe abuse of additives in animal feed and prescription drugs in China. Most of these substances come from wastewater produced by members of the public, medical institutions, factories, the agricultural husbandry and fisheries industries as well as landfills, according to the study. A concentration of sulfamethoxazole up to 1,080 nanograms per liter was recorded from a sample taken from a section of the River Zhu. The high level of the antibiotic found in the region might have to do with the heavy use of additives in the feed and preventative medicines in local chicken farms.