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Rhine water; linking young girls to sleeping pills

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Posted January 3, 2014
Rhine water; linking young girls to sleeping pills (w/ Video)
Credit: Delft University of Technology
Scientists from Delft University of Technology have become the first to link the presence of pharmaceutical residues in the Rhine to the demographic characteristics of people living along the Rhine. This knowledge could be used to develop a better way of dealing with the contamination of drinking water with pharmaceutical residues. The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

Contamination

Thirty million people depend on the Rhine for their drinking water, and 37 % of the drinking water in the Netherlands comes from rivers. Drinking water is to a certain extent contaminated with residues from prescription drugs (pharmaceuticals). It is therefore of great importance to improve our understanding of this process of contamination. To this end, researchers from TU Delft have collaborated with Het Waterlaboratorium (the Water Laboratory) to link water quality in the River Rhine to demographic data from the area. They hope that this will provide them with a detailed picture of the impact of local inhabitants on the river’s water quality.

From the source to Lobith

They took water samples at 42 points along the river. These points were spaced at intervals of 20–30 kilometres. The researchers started near the source of the Rhine and ended just before Lobith, at the Dutch–German border. They then examined the concentrations of a large number of pharmaceuticals, including certain insomnia medications and anti-depressives. These pharmaceutical residues are passed into the sewer water through urine, eventually ending up in the Rhine.

Read more at: Phys.org

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