Hadassah

Fruits Irrigated With Treated Wastewater Expose Consumers to Epilepsy Drug

Monday, Apr 25 2016

Consumers who eat fruits and vegetables that were grown in soils irrigated with treated wastewater are also consuming small quantities of an anti-epileptic drug, according to a new study by a team of researchers from the Hadassah Medical Center and The Hebrew University.

Because of a worldwide scarcity of fresh water for crop irrigation, there has been an increased use of reclaimed wastewater to grow crops, which has led to the discovery that pharmaceutical contamination can be a risky consequence. In this study—the first to directly address consumer exposure to such pharmaceutical contaminants--the Hadassah/Hebrew University multidisciplinary team found the drug, carbamazepine in the urine of healthy individuals.

“In a randomized controlled trial we have demonstrated that healthy individuals consuming reclaimed wastewater-irrigated produce excreted carbamazepine and its metabolites in their urine, while subjects consuming fresh water-irrigated produce excreted undetectable or significantly lower levels of carbamazepine,” explains Prof. Ora Paltiel, Director of the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, who led the research.

The study, highlighted in the March 29th issue of Environmental Science and Technology, involved a cohort of 34 men and women, who were divided into two groups. The first group was given produce that was irrigated with reclaimed wastewater for the first week, and freshwater-irrigated vegetables for the following week. The second group consumed the produce in reverse order. The participants ate the produce as they would normally and drank bottled water throughout the study.

The researchers measured carbamazepine levels both in the fresh produce and in the participants’ urine. To begin with, the urinary levels of carbamazepine differed in their quantifiable concentration, with some participants having undetectable levels. Following seven days of consuming reclaimed water-irrigated produce, all members of the first group exhibited quantifiable levels of carbamazepine, while in the second group the distribution remained unchanged from baseline. Levels of carbamazepine excretion were markedly higher in the first group versus the second.

“Treated wastewater-irrigated produce exhibited substantially higher carbamazepine levels than fresh water-irrigated produce,” concluded Prof. Paltiel. She adds: “It is evident that those who consume produce grown in soil irrigated with treated wastewater increase their exposure to the drug. Although the levels detected were much lower than in patients who consume the drug, it is important to assess the exposure in commercially available produce.”

While the study does not delve into the potential risks of exposure to carbamazepine, the authors explain that their “proof of concept” study provides “real world data which could guide risk assessments and policy designed to ensure the safe use of wastewater for crop irrigation.”

Comments

No comments yet.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Wednesday, Aug 16 2017

Gazan Boy Walks for First Time at Hadassah

Unable to stand on his feet, suffering from severe respiratory distress, a four-year-old boy from Gaza gained the ability to walk once Hadassah Hospital surgeons identified and removed a large tumor lodged in his chest.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Aug 16 2017

Hadassah Hosts Health Innovation Conference

Over one hundred doctors, researchers, and entrepreneurs gathered at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem this summer to discuss how to advance the quality of patient care with computational power.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Aug 14 2017

Hadassah Hosts First Human Trial with Drug to Fight Nasty Bacterial Infection

Immuron, an Australian biopharmaceutical company, has received approval from the Hadassah Medical Organization’s ethics committee and Israel’s Ministry of Health to begin its first clinical trial with a new drug to fight a bacterial infection called Clostridium Difficile (CDI).

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Thursday, Aug 3 2017

Mystery of Devastating Pediatric Disease Solved by Hadassah Team

A genetic mutation causing a rare and devastating pediatric neurological disease that has puzzled medical centers around the world has been identified at the Hadassah Medical Organization by Prof. Orly Elpeleg, head of Hadassah's Department of Genetics and Metabolic Diseases.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More