Theoretical environmental risk assessment of ten used pharmaceuticals in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

  • Arthur Couto NevesEmail author
  • Marcos Paulo Gomes Mol


An evaluation of the environmental risk assessment (ERA) proposed by European Medicines Agency (EMA) and its applicability in Brazil was performed on ten of Belo Horizonte’s most pharmaceuticals by the Brazilian National Health Service (SUS). The predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) was proposed, with some refinements to a better representation of the city of study. All PECs obtained were compared only to measured environmental concentrations around the world, due to the lack available data in the city of study and in Brazil. During the performance of EMA’s guideline, the risk quotient (RQ) of impact was established through the ratio of PECs and predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs). The PECs obtained in more refined phases show the initial evaluation of EMA’s guideline, possible subdimensions, and the potential risks. The RQ for all studied pharmaceuticals ranges from clonazepam (1.26) to losartan (5457.45). These results indicate potential risks to the aquatic life present in the streams that receive the wastewater treatment plant’s effluent. This risk can be spread since the streams carry these contaminants to other water bodies that undergo to multiple cities of Brazil, and even after dilutions, it can still be potentially toxic to the biotic life. ERA shows that it can be a useful tool for a better understanding and modeling of pharmaceuticals fate in the environment, specifically in water bodies. In addition, the usage of this model shows to be a useful tool that determines which contaminant should follow a more thorough study since the detection and analysis of pharmaceuticals in environmental samples are costly and technically challenging.


Drugs Microcontaminants Environment risk assessment 



To Fundação Ezequiel Dias—FUNED for its support in conducting the research, in particular the Diretoria de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento (DPD).

Funding information

This work is financially supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais—FAPEMIG.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Couto Neves
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marcos Paulo Gomes Mol
    • 1
  1. 1.Diretoria de Pesquisa e DesenvolvimentoFundação Ezequiel Dias – FUNEDCidade Belo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica de Minas Gerais – CEFET-MGBelo HorizonteBrazil

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