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Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Overarching Issues and Overview

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Abstract: While the point-source emissions of pollutants from manufacturing waste streams have long been monitored and subject to controls, the environmental impact of the public's (i.e., the individual's) activities regarding the use of chemicals is more difficult to assess. Of particular question is the widespread release to sewage and surface/ground waters of pharmaceuticals and personal care products after their ingestion, external application, or disposal. Certain pharmaceutically active compounds (e.g., caffeine, nicotine, and aspirin) have been known for over 20 years to enter the environment by a variety of routes - primarily via treated and untreated sewage effluent. A larger picture, however, has emerged only more recently, where it is evident that numerous personal care products (such as fragrances and sunscreens) and drugs from a wide spectrum of therapeutic classes can occur in the environment and drinking water (albeit at very low concentrations), especially in natural waters receiving sewage. Nearly all ecological monitoring studies for pharmaceuticals and personal care products (informally referred to as "PPCPS" - see Daughton and Ternes 1999) to date have been performed in Europe.
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Citation:Daughton, C. G., and T. A. Ternes. Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Overarching Issues and Overview.Daughton, C.G. and Jones-Lepp, T. (ed.), Environment - Scientific and Regulatory Issues. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, (2001).
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Environmental Chemistry Branch
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Product Type: Book Chaptr
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Published: 08/24/2001
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Addressing Emerging Issues in Water Quality Through Environmental Chemistry
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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