A recent report, “PPCP Monitoring in the Nordic Countries – Status Report”, on the presence of traces of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), such as soaps, shampoos and body creams, in wastewater in the Nordic countries found higher concentrations of some compounds in samples taken from Iceland than in the other Nordic countries.
View of Landspítali and Hallgrímskirkja. Photo by Dagbjört Oddný Matthíasdóttir.
The report, published by Nordic Screening, compares individual research findings from the Nordic countries.
The Icelandic Food and Biotech Research and Development Institute Matís took part in the Iceland study which looked at samples from three locations; near the Landspítali national hospital in Reykjavík and near the pumping stations in Akureyri and Hveragerði.
In most cases, the concentration levels of pharmaceuticals in effluent in Iceland were lower than samples from Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Norway and Sweden. In some cases, however, the samples contained higher concentrations of ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory and painkiller drug), estradiol (contraceptive pill) and Atenolol (heart medication). Such compounds are not removed from sewage in Iceland, according to Matís.
The report does not draw any conclusions about the environmental impacts of the chemicals as the goal of the study was only to gather information on which PPCPs are present in wastewater in the region in order to prioritize further research and monitoring.
The steering group is made up of representatives from the Danish Centre for environment and Energy, Aarhus University, the Finnish Environment Institute, the Environment Agency of Iceland, the Environment Agency of the Faroe Islands, the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.