Drugs taken by humans and animals find their way into the environment. Especially in surface waters, pharmaceutical residues can be found, but also in our soil and groundwater and ultimately, even in our drinking water. RIVM investigates the effects of such pharmaceutical residues on public health and the environment. We research what, and how measures can be taken to lower and prevent the discharge of medicines in the environment.

As the concentration of medicines in surface water and drinking water is relatively low, effects on public health are not to be expected. However, harmful effects on ecosystems have been established. The presence of medicines results in societal costs: costs for monitoring and purification.

RIVM has knowledge how to save costs and how to avoid risks in regard to the whole pharmaceutical product chain, from prevention of discharge of pharmaceuticals in the environment to purification of drinking water. The infographic provides information on the type of medicines that are released in the environment, where they are found and what their impact can be on our health and living environment.