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Preface to: "PHARMACEUTICALS and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Scientific and Regulatory Issues"

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Abstract:Often overlooked in our daily lives are the inescapable, intimate, and immediate connections between our personal activities and the environment in which we live. This is especially true with regard to the use and disposal of consumer chemicals. A significant aspect of our global society that illustrates the potential impact of our lives on the environment is the widespread and escalating use of pharmaceuticals and personal care products - simply referred to as PPCPS. Many of these chemicals are specifically designed to elicit potent pharmacological or toxicological effects. In distinct contrast to nearly all agro/industrial chemicals, which are often used on large, relatively confined scales, the end use for PPCPs is highly dispersed and centered around the activities and actions of the individual. PPCPs enjoy worldwide usage and attendant discharge or inadvertent release to the environment. Their introduction to the environment has no geographic boundaries or climatic-use limitations as do many other synthetic chemicals - they are discharged to the environment wherever people live or visit, regardless of the time of year.

It is difficult for the individual to perceive their small-scale activities as having any measurable impact on the larger environment - personal actions are often deemed minuscule or inconsequential in the larger scheme. Yet it is the combined actions and activities of individuals that indeed can significantly impact the environment in a myriad of ways. The personal, individual ingestion/application ofchemicals from this very large, diverse group of biologically active substances (and their metabolic/transformation products) leads to their direct and indirect worldwide discharge to the environment through sewage treatment systems (indirectly from exereta and directly via disposal or washing) and from other sources such as terrestrial runoff/leaching from excreta of medicated domestic animals (including pets) and landfills.
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Citation:Daughton, C. G., and T. Joneslepp. Preface to: "PHARMACEUTICALS and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Scientific and Regulatory Issues". Chemistry, Symposium Series 791. 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: 08/02/2001
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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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