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The Effects of Disinfection on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water Supplies

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Abstract:Pharmaceuticals are intended to be applied to or ingested by humans and animals, metabolized and excreted through urine or feces. However it has been estimated that 30-90% of administered active ingredients pass through humans and animals unchanged. While sewage treatment plants remove between 7-96% of 14 pharmaceuticals (mean 65+/-25) not all pharmaceutical-containing waters pass through sewage treatment plants before drinking water treatment (e.g. terrestrial/aquatic applicaitons of veterinary pharmaceuticals) so potential exists for pharmaceuticals to be in the source water of drinking water treatment plants. There are very few studies in the literature concerning effect of drinking water treatment on fate of pharmaceutical compounds, and those that are present were conducted in urban areas where sewage and drinking water treatment are presumably state-of-the-art. The purpose of this study was to examine a range of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals to estimate the amount of active ingredient that makes it through simple water treatment unchanged, as well as identify any disinfection byproducts/degradation nproducts that may form. Compounds studied cover a wide variety of drug classes including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, acetaminophen, ibuprofen), antibiotics (amoxicilllin, vancomycin, tetracyccline), antihistamines (cimetidine, pseudoephedrine), hormones (levothyroxine, depo-provera), antiarrhythmic agents (digoxin), and antineoplastics (levamisole HCl), as well as other compounds that would have an anthropogenic origin (caffeine, nicotine, aspartame) and some known metabolites (paraxanthine, -(-cotinine)).
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Citation:Glassmeyer, S. The Effects of Disinfection on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water Supplies. Presented at Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Nashville, TN, November 11-16, 2000.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
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Branch: Chemical Exposure Research Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 11/12/2000
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item The Effects of Disinfection on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water Supplies
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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