By Joan Tell, Director, EHS Risk Assessment at MSD

Sunday December 5th is World Soil Day. This year 2021, it is focused on keeping soil alive and to protect soil biodiversity. Soil holds more than 25% of our planet´s biodiversity, from bacteria to slimy earthworms and is part of critical ecosystems processes on which humans rely, such as agriculture. It is therefore imperative to protect and invest resources to promote the sustainability of soil.

Within PREMIER, we are working to protect soils by:


Expanding our modelling framework to better predict concentrations of pharmaceuticals in soils and biota across the European landscape





Building new models for predicting the microbial biotransformation of pharmaceuticals in soil environments





Developing and validating models for estimating the sorption behaviour of pharmaceuticals and transformation products in sludges, sediments and soils





Developing models for estimating uptake of pharmaceuticals into wildlife food items such as earthworms and subsequent exposure of birds and mammals






Experimentally determine the uptake of 15-20 active pharmaceutical ingredients from soil into earthworms.




These critical projects will advance the science by filling data gaps for the soil pathway and its biodiversity and lead to better protection of this critical resource.