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IAS Fellows’ Lecture – From Panacea to Pollutant: a drug’s journey

February 23 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Public Lecture by Professor Khalil Hanna (Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Rennes)


The ubiquitous existence of pharmaceuticals in many of our water resources is an emerging global threat with potentially alarming consequences for the health of the public and environment. Pharmaceuticals can enter the aquatic environment through three different routes: inefficient wastewater treatment, improper disposal of unused medicines, and agricultural run-off. Since current wastewater treatments are unable to completely eliminate these compounds, our daily exposure to various drugs and their bioactive metabolites in the environment becomes unavoidable. To ensure water safety, prevention of pollution at the source, complemented with wastewater treatment is key to addressing this problem.

As prevention is the best policy, and because daily exposure to various pharmaceuticals is becoming a reality through water consumption, we must question the most effective way to address escalating global pharmaceutical use. It would be more effective to focus on corrective measures of root causes, rather than simply treating the point where panacea becomes pollutant. Responsible use of drugs and personal care products by individuals is necessary to prevent the introduction of pharmaceuticals to the natural environment. Intensive information campaigns should be launched to educate the public and warn them about each individual’s responsibility and the ecological consequences of drug misuse.

In this talk, Professor Hanna will highlight our expertise on identifying pharmaceuticals and their transformation by-products, their mass flows through time and space, and the new physical and biological balances being temporarily created between living and non-living actors.


This lecture is free and open to all. Registration is not required to attend in person.


February 23
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Seminar Room, Ustinov College, Sheraton Park

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