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Sunday 20 November 2005

A preliminary ecotoxicity study of pharmaceuticals in the marine environment.

By: Choong AM, Teo SL

Environmental fates and effects of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment have been the focus of recent research in environmental ecotoxicology.

Worldwide studies of common over-the-counter pharmaceuticals have reported detectable levels in the aquatic environment, but there are few studies examining impacts on marine habitats. These drugs can affect the functions of various vertebrates and invertebrates.

The stability of two pharmaceuticals, cyclizine (CYC) and prochlorperazine (PCZ), in seawater was examined under light and dark conditions, as well as the toxicity of these compounds to larvae of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite, which is a cosmopolitan marine organism found in most of the world's oceans. CYC was very stable under all the tested conditions. On the other hand, PCZ degraded in light but not in the dark, and was more stable in seawater than fresh water. For the barnacle larvae, the LC50 of prochlorperazine was 0.93 microg/ml and the LC50 for CYC was approximately 0.04 microg/ml.

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