Pharmaceutical micropollution: challenges and prospects for hospitals

Pauline Modrie (1), Olivier Henriet (2) Published in the journal : January 2024 Category : Durabilité et Soins de Santé: Quels Défis pour le Futur

Summary :

Up to 70% of consumed drugs in hospitals are retrieved in the form of drug residues in wastewater. Conventional wastewater treatment plants are unable to completely purify these pharmaceutical micropollutants. To limit the environmental impact of drug consumption and persistence of xenobiotics in surface waters, solutions both upstream and downstream of drug treatment exist. For instance, the discharge of problematic micropollutants into effluents must be limited through eco-designed care, which duly examines each stage of hospitalized patient care in order to limit pollutant discharges. This involves appropriate consumption, including adapting to patient weight, de-prescribing, selecting less impactful molecules, as well as avoiding cleaning-related discharges. At the downstream level, it is similarly possible to limit the impact of wastewater treatment. Various solutions exist, with encouraging results already obtained to date, as a 70% - 100% purification of micropollutants in hospital wastewater is ensured by these means.


Micropollutants, eco-designed care, wastewater treatment