Pharmaceuticals in drinking-water
Rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality
Pharmaceuticals in drinking-water is included in the plan of work of the rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.
Pharmaceuticals (e.g., antibiotics, endocrine disruptors) have been detected and confirmed in all components of the water cycle in Europe and were raised as a concern by EURO. Organizations such as EUREAU and the Rhine Water Works as well as wastewater treatment companies have also expressed concern on the topic. Even though human risk assessments have shown that low concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking-water have a negligible health risk, long-term exposures have not been evaluated, especially in debilitated or immunosuppressed populations. Antibiotics in the water cycle raise a potential concern because of the possibility of promoting development of resistance in bacteria in the aquatic environment.
Progress to date
The Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality Working Group meeting (Geneva, 2005) agreed on the need to keep up to date in this area and to start gathering relevant information.