Every year, approximately 30,000 tons of drugs are taken in Germany. About 95 percent of the residues of active pharmaceutical ingredients and their degradation products are excreted again and can hardly be filtered out by sewage treatment plants. In addition, about a third of human medicines are disposed of unused - often via the toilet. Active substances and degradation products are thus released into water and soil. Traces of more than 150 different medicines have been found in recent years in inland waters and sometimes even in groundwater. Even though only a few active pharmaceutical ingredients can be detected in groundwater, the main sources of danger are antibiotics and psychotropic drugs. Here, for example, antibiotic-resistant bacteria can develop.
The concrete effects of these substances on humans and the environment have not yet been researched. Changes in the development and behaviour of animals and plants can be observed.