Urban sewage represents a major source of pollution in marine ecosystems, mainly due to increased consumption in coastal metropolitan regions and inefficient collection, treatment and disposal of domestic effluents. Among the main substances that can be found in the effluents are metals, hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals and personal care and illicit drugs, such as Cocaine, which is considered a huge public health problem, mainly in South America.The consumption and trafficking of cocaine in South America have become more prominent, particularly in Brazil.Sewage outfalls are main responsible for the discharge of emerging substances (such as cocaine) in the marine environment. Past studies of our group that identified the presence of cocaine in surface water at the Bay of Santos and biological effects in environmentally relevant concentrations. Thus, it comes the need for the environmental risk of illicit drugs in coastal environments through a tiered methodology which contemplates quantification in environmental matrices (surface water and bioaccumulation in marine organisms) and ecotoxicological study using as a model a marine organism sentinel (Perna perna mussels). This study is concerning the first study on illicit drug concentrations in a subtropical marine ecosystem and also the first assessment of possible adverse effects caused by illegal drugs to marine biota, in Brazil and in the world. We proposed the quantification of cocaine in environmental samples in the laboratory, as well as evaluating the acute and chronic toxicity of crack cocaine in Perna perna mussels and analysis of the metabolic pathways involved in biotransformation and excretion, as well as the sublethal effects arising from disturbances caused by cocaine or its metabolites.This proposal is innovative and the results will provide important information about the occurrence and effects of environmental contamination by illicti drugs,assisting in the development of tools for biomonitoring of these substances in the environment, and future implementation of environmental legislation.
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