Webinar : Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Aqueous Environment (Monday 25th May 2020 1300 hrs BST/1700 hrs IST)

Indian Activity Lead Name: 

Dr. Akanksha Singh Kachhawaha

Indian Activity Lead Organization: 

Gujarat Forensic Sciences University


The IUKWC hosted a webinar series between May - September 2020 to share the excellent work that is being done by Indian and UK scientists in the area of water security. This was the inaugral webinar of the series and highlights the results of a study conducted on the pharmaceutical contamination found in rivers in India and the UK, which was carried out through the IUKWC Research Exchange Scheme. The webinar was attended by 153 people from 39 institutions mainly across India and the UK and contributed to increasing interest and creating a new knowledge base in context of pharmaceutical contamination amongst the audience, according to the feedback recieved. 


Pharmaceutical residues in the aquatic environment are ubiquitously reported across the world. Pharmaceutical industries are perpetually engaged in designing more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) with higher potency, bioavailability and persistence. The pharmacologically significant properties of resistance from degradation and enhanced bio availabilities transform into threats when non- target organisms are exposed to these bioactive, anthropogenic molecules in the environment.

On the other hand, with ever-growing standards of beauty and lifestyle, numbers of personal care products are increasing in the market. These products are for external use, and unlike pharmaceuticals, do not encounter metabolic alterations hence, enter the environment unaltered. Labelled as “emerging contaminants” pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are now a widespread concern because of their extensive use and ubiquity in the environment.

Country-specific studies are required to understand the local status of a drug in the environment. However, due to the use of different methodologies in different countries to assess pharmaceutical contamination in aqueous environments around the world, there is a gap in the understanding of international variation in pharmaceutical contamination and fate. In this webinar, the results of a study conducted on the pharmaceutical contamination found in rivers in India and the UK, which was carried out through the IUKWC Research Exchange Scheme, will be presented.

Forty one pharmaceuticals from different therapeutic classes were scrutinised using the same analytical procedure, thereby allowing a comparison of the occurrence pattern of target drugs in both the countries. The information obtained from this study helped to draw inferences about the usage of drugs and their environmental distribution globally. The webinar will also provide an overview of PPCP contamination in aqueous environment, as well as of common analysis methodologies. 

Presenter’s Bio

Dr Akanksha Singh Kachhawaha is currently working as Assistant Professor at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. She specializes in the area of Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology and Environmental Forensics. Her research interest include investigating various environmental contaminants specifically “contaminants of emerging concern” such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products in different environmental matrices.

She gained her PhD, as Senior Research Fellow, from CSIR- National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), Nagpur, entitled “Occurrence of Pharmaceutical and Personal care Products in the aquatic environment and effects to freshwater algae Chlorella vulgaris”. With a wide expertise on contamination analyses methodologies. Based on her method development work, She was invited by the India Section of AOAC International to give a webinar on “Multi-residue analysis of pharmaceutics and personal care products (PPCPs) in aquatic environment by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry”. Her proposal was also selected by IUKWC for Junior Researcher

Exchange Scheme in collaboration with the Environment Department, University of York, on the topic entitled’ “A small scale monitoring study for a range of pharmaceuticals in the River Foss catchment and comparison to concentrations in the River Nag in India”. For more information on Akanksha see https://www.gfsu.edu.in/institute-of-forensic-science/faculty-ifs/.

Activity Date Calender: 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Download the Webinar Presentations

Watch the Dr Akanksha Recorded Webinar in Full (Video)