Europe to target pharmaceutical pollution with new water quality rules
The European Commission has unveiled a new set of water pollution rules, which will for the first time include certain pharmaceutical products. The Commission is proposing to add 15 chemicals to the list of 33 pollutants that are currently monitored and controlled in EU surface waters. The popular pain-relieving drug Diclofenac is one of three pharmaceuticals to be put on the European water watch-list, which law-makers say is another step towards improving the quality of rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The 15 substances include industrial chemicals as well as compounds used in biocides and plant protection products. They have been selected on the basis of scientific evidence that they may pose a significant risk to health.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Water pollution is one of the environmental worries most frequently cited by EU citizens. I welcome this advance as it is clearly answering people's expectations.
"These 15 additional chemicals need to be monitored and controlled to ensure they don't pose a risk to the environment or human health."
The update will be achieved through a revision of the Directive on priority substances in the field of water quality. The newly proposed substances are the outcome of a review that considered the risks posed by some 2000 substances according to their levels in surface waters, and their hazardousness, production and use.