A river with lush green grass on each side and an arched bridge in the backgound.

Water samples for the project will be collected from 31 countries. Pictured is one collection site in Pirita river, Estonia. Photo: Tiia Pedusaar.

Led by the University of York, 44 groups across 31 European countries participate in a study to research the levels of pharmaceutical contamination across European rivers.

This is the most extensive study of its kind. Water samples will be collected using standardised sampling kits and methods during specified temporal sampling windows over a one-year period. Samples will be sent to the University of York where over 60 different active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) will be analysed from the samples.

The aim of the project is to identify hotspots of exposure, identify some of the drivers of exposure and assess the potential impacts of study APIs on the environment. The study will provide a temporal view of European river contamination. In addition, the results can be used to inform policy and regulation both within Europe and more broadly.

Three rivers were selected from Estonia for the European monitoring programme: P├Áduste river, Pirita river and Vigala river.

The project is funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative through the PREMIER project.