Human Exposure to Wastewater-Derived Pharmaceuticals in Fresh Produce: A Randomized Controlled Trial Focusing on Carbamazepine

Ora Paltiel, Ganna Fedorova, Galit Tadmor, Geffen Kleinstern, Yehoshua Maor, Benny Chefetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fresh water scarcity has led to increased use of reclaimed wastewater as an alternative and reliable source for crop irrigation. Beyond microbiological safety, concerns have been raised regarding contamination of reclaimed wastewater by xenobiotics including pharmaceuticals. This study focuses on carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant drug which is ubiquitously detected in reclaimed wastewater, highly persistent in soil, and taken up by crops. In a randomized controlled trial we demonstrate that healthy individuals consuming reclaimed wastewater-irrigated produce excreted carbamazepine and its metabolites in their urine, while subjects consuming fresh water-irrigated produce excreted undetectable or significantly lower levels of carbamazepine. We also report that the carbamazepine metabolite pattern at this low exposure level differed from that observed at therapeutic doses. This "proof of concept" study demonstrates that human exposure to xenobiotics occurs through ingestion of reclaimed wastewater-irrigated produce, providing real world data which could guide risk assessments and policy designed to ensure the safe use of wastewater for crop irrigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4476-4482
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume50
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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