Stockholm university

Global study finds the extent of pharmaceutical pollution in the world’s rivers

A new study by an international consortium that includes researchers from Stockholm University looking at the presence of pharmaceuticals in the world’s rivers found concentrations at potentially toxic levels in more than a quarter of the locations studied. The new study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first truly global-scale investigation of pharmaceutical contamination in the environment.

Anna Sobeck
Professor Anna Sobek.
Photo: Stella Papadopoulou

“It is well known that pharmaceutical residues end up in lakes and rivers. While the majority of previous studies have monitored active pharmaceutical ingredients in rivers, these studies have often excluded many countries, have measured only a select few pharmaceuticals, and used different analytical methods. This means that it is difficult to make direct comparisons between studies and, hence, assess the scale of pharmaceutical pollution across the globe,” says Anna Sobek, Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and co-author of the study.

Read full article on the web of the Department of Environmental Science.

Read scientific article in PNAS.