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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Ketoprofen and ibuprofen: no health risk due to their presence in water for human consumption

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News of 15/07/2015

The presence of drug residues in water has been a key subject for both the health authorities and the scientific community for a number of years. ANSES has been working on this topic since 2006, and in 2013 it proposed a general method for assessing the health risks of drug residues in water intended for human consumption. After having applied this method to a drug for human use frequently found in water (carbamazepine) and to three veterinary antibiotics (danofloxacin, tylosin and florfenicol), the Agency used the method to assess the risks linked to the presence in drinking water of ketoprofen and ibuprofen, two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used in France. ANSES is publishing its opinion today, in which it concludes that there are no health risks linked to the presence of ketoprofen or ibuprofen in water intended for human consumption at the concentrations found in France.

Water intended for human consumption comes from ground and surface water that is treated to make it potable. Depending on the natural environment from which it comes, water may contain various naturally or non-naturally occurring chemicals. The presence of drug residues in water has been a key subject for both the health authorities and the scientific community for a number of years.

Ketoprofen and ibuprofen were found in drinking water during the national human and veterinary drug residue analysis campaign conducted in 2009 by ANSES's Nancy Laboratory for Hydrology (NLH). These two drugs belong to the class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Ibuprofen is the most widespread NSAID for human use in France. Ketoprofen is used in both human and in veterinary medicine.

Based on the general method for assessing the health risks of drug residues in water intended for human consumption that it proposed in 2013, ANSES issued a formal internal request to assess the health risks of ketoprofen and ibuprofen in drinking water.

The work of the experts also involved two metabolites of ibuprofen found in the environment: 2-hydroxyibuprofen (quantified in drinking water during the NLH analysis campaign), and carboxyibuprofen.
 

ANSES conclusions

Based on expert assessments conducted using all the available data, ANSES has concluded that there are no health risks linked to the presence of ketoprofen or ibuprofen in water intended for human consumption at the exposure levels found in France.

Due to a lack of toxicological data for the two main ibuprofen metabolites, 2-hydroxyibuprofen and carboxyibuprofen, it is currently impossible to reach any conclusions as to the potential health risks of these substances in drinking water.