Persistence. The potential for persistence of caffeine cannot be excluded, due to lack of data.
Bioaccumulation. Caffeine has low potential for bioaccumulation.
Toxicity. Caffeine has moderate acute toxicity.
Risk. The use of caffeine (sales data Sweden 2017) has been considered to result in insignificant environmental risk.
This summary information comes from Fass.
Fass environmental information for Peyona (caffeine) from Chiesi Farmaceutici (downloaded 2022-04-11). The environmental information for caffeine is produced by the company Recip AB for Anervan®, Compodyn, Folliplex comp., Koffazon, Plexon and Recigerit. All these medicinal products from Recip AB have been withdrawn from the market.
Persistence: "Concerning biodegradation there is only a not valid study available for caffeine. However, for the structurally analogous compound theophylline there is a test on ready biodegradability available from which it can be concluded that this substance is readily biodegradable (OECD 301 A, 90–100% after 22 days, >90% at the end of the 10-day window). As the two substances differ only by one methyl group it can be concluded with high probability that also the substance caffeine is readily biodegradable. Available degradation data are not sufficient to determine degradability for caffeine in accordance with the FASS guideline, and caffeine is assigned the phrase “The potential for persistence of caffeine cannot be excluded, due to lack of data”."
Bioaccumulation: "An experimentally derived Log Kow of -0,07 (unknown method) ... indicates that Caffeine has low potential for bioaccumulation."
Acute toxicity: There are data for 3 trophic levels, most sensitive crustacean 44 000 microg/L.
PEC/PNEC is based on sales data in Sweden in year 2017. PEC/PNEC = 0.028 which gives the risk insignificant.
Caffeine has been found in the aquatic environment in Sweden and Region Stockholm. According to the report "Läkemedelsrester i Stockholms vattenmiljö": Caffeine was measured in the highest levels of all analyzed substances in incoming water, over 100,000 ng/L, but was found to be degraded in the waste water treatment plants to more than 99%. The large contribution comes from coffee drinking and therefore it is not dealt with further in this report.
Author: Health and Medical Care Administration, Region Stockholm