Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered.
Researchers looked for 14 commonly used antibiotics in rivers in 72 countries across six continents and found antibiotics at 65% of the sites monitored.
Metronidazole, which is used to treat bacterial infections including skin and mouth infections, exceeded safe levels by the biggest margin, with concentrations at one site in Bangladesh 300 times greater than the ‘safe’ level.
In the River Thames and one of its tributaries in London, the researchers detected a maximum total antibiotic concentration of 233 nanograms per litre (ng/l), whereas in Bangladesh the concentration was 170 times higher.
The most prevalent antibiotic was trimethoprim, which was detected at 307 of the 711 sites tested and is primarily used to treat urinary tract infections.
The research team compared the monitoring data with ‘safe’ levels recently established by the AMR Industry Alliance which, depending on the antibiotic, range from 20-32,000 ng/l.
Ciproflaxacin, which is used to treat a number of bacterial infections, was the compound that most frequently exceeded safe levels, surpassing the safety threshold in 51 places.
The team said that the ‘safe’ limits were most frequently exceeded in Asia and Africa, but sites in Europe, North America and South America also had levels of concern showing that antibiotic contamination was a “global problem.”
Sites where antibiotics exceeded ‘safe’ levels by the greatest degree were in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria, while a site in Austria was ranked the highest of the European sites monitored.
The study revealed that high-risk sites were typically adjacent to wastewater treatment systems, waste or sewage dumps and in some areas of political turmoil, including the Israeli and Palestinian border.
The project, which was led by the University of York, was a huge logistical challenge – with 92 sampling kits flown out to partners across the world who were asked to take samples from locations along their local river system.
Samples were then frozen and couriered back to the University of York for testing. Some of the world’s most iconic rivers were sampled, including the Chao Phraya, Danube, Mekong, Seine, Thames, Tiber and Tigris.
Dr John Wilkinson, from the Department of Environment and Geography, who co-ordinated the monitoring work said no other study had been done on this scale. He said: “Until now, the majority of environmental monitoring work for antibiotics has been done in Europe, N. America and China. Often on only a handful of antibiotics. We know very little about the scale of problem globally.
“Our study helps to fill this key knowledge gap with data being generated for countries that had never been monitored before.”
Professor Alistair Boxall, Theme Leader of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, said: “The results are quite eye opening and worrying, demonstrating the widespread contamination of river systems around the world with antibiotic compounds.
“Many scientists and policy makers now recognise the role of the natural environment in the antimicrobial resistance problem. Our data show that antibiotic contamination of rivers could be an important contributor.”
“Solving the problem is going to be a mammoth challenge and will need investment in infrastructure for waste and wastewater treatment, tighter regulation and the cleaning up of already contaminated sites.”
The Latest on: Antibiotic levels in rivers
via Google News
The Latest on: Antibiotic levels in rivers
- Opinion | Antibiotics are contaminating rivers and posing health riskson November 27, 2019 at 10:21 am
Indeed, several rivers in the world, including those in India, have been reported to have high concentrations of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin ... being exposed to a 10% increase in agrichemical ...
- Sewage, rivers and soils provide missing link in antibiotic resistance storyon October 29, 2019 at 6:15 am
Dr. Bougnom says there is an 'alarming' level of antibiotic-resistant infections in Yaounde's hospitals ... it could be used to compare the relative dangers of different sources—for example, rivers ...
- 80% cut in antibiotics entering Thames is needed to avoid surge in superbugson September 4, 2019 at 11:03 am
It found that across three-quarters of the River Thames catchment, the antibiotics present, due to effluent discharge, were likely to be at levels high enough for antibiotic-resistant bacteria to ...
- Breeding ground for superbugs? Hong Kong river’s unsafe antibiotic levelson June 16, 2019 at 3:15 am
A Hong Kong river has antibiotics exceeding safe levels by up to five times, a global study has found, with researchers raising concerns that it could contribute to the growing problem of superbugs.
- Many of the world’s rivers are flush with dangerous levels of antibioticson June 14, 2019 at 6:52 am
Samples from Bangladesh’s Kirtankhola River, near the south-central city of Barisal, contained the highest antibiotic concentrations of any surveyed site. The level of metronidazole approached 40,000 ...
- River contamination: a growing cause of antibiotic resistance?on June 12, 2019 at 4:34 am
A global study has uncovered a disturbing level of antibiotic contamination in rivers, one of the prevalent causes of antibiotic resistance. A worldwide study into the levels of antibiotics in the ...
- First global look finds most rivers awash with antibioticson June 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm
Many countries have little or no data about antibiotic concentrations in their rivers. So Boxall and his colleagues decided ... in concentrations four times higher than “safe” levels. “In many ways it ...
- Dangerously high levels of antibiotics found in world's major rivers, says studyon May 30, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Dangerously high levels of antibiotics were found in some of the world's major rivers, according to a new report. In the first-ever study of its kind, researchers tested the contamination of rivers ...
- Drastic levels of antibiotic contamination in rivers worldwideon May 29, 2019 at 8:40 pm
Ciprofloxacin, used for treating multiple infections, exceeded safe levels most frequently ... toilet-coverage success, our rivers are falling prey to inadequate sewage coverage and waste processing, ...
- Unsafe Antibiotic Levels Detected in Rivers Worldwideon May 29, 2019 at 3:06 pm
In this first-ever global study of its kind, researchers detected antibiotics at 65% of the locations monitored with unsafe levels in some of the world’s major rivers. Professor Alistair Boxall, ...
via Bing News