Human pharmaceuticals in Ontario's environment: a review of management opportunities
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 06:50 by Emily (Hanna) Cooper
Pharmaceuticals have been detected in water throughout the developed world. Some, while at low concentrations, can negatively affect freshwater wildlife. This thesis explores the level of risk that pharmaceuticals pose to Ontario’s environment, and possible challenges and opportunities for government action to address this issue. In addition to a literature review, this work replicates an earlier similar study by collecting information directly from seven purposefully selected Ontario experts. Results make it clear that pharmaceuticals pose some risk, but a consensus cannot be reached on the level of risk. With limited financial resources, it is difficult to prioritize pharmaceutical removal over other environmental problems without a clear understanding of the harm that pharmaceuticals pose. Nevertheless, there are opportunities for government action. Ontario could follow what British Columbia has done; it developed a Water Quality Guideline for pharmaceuticals that must be considered by government when making decisions that could affect water quality.