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Chemicals from Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products

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Abstract:The use or consumption of natural resources often leads to ecological alteration. These changes can result from exposure of living systems to "stressors" ranging from physical alteration (such as habitat disruption) to chemical pollution. Untoward effects on wildlife and humans can range from the aesthetic to increased morbidity and mortality. This chapter focuses on a large class of chemicals designed for use by humans and domestic animals - Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs). While the benefits of these chemicals are undisputed and wide-ranging, the consequences of their release or escape to the environment are poorly understood. As early as the 1950s, the focus of environmental chemists had been agrochemicals (e.g., DDT) and industrial chemicals and wastes/by-products (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs) and dioxins) as the major sources of chemical pollutants in the environment. These toxic chemicals are frequently lipophilic (dissolving in fat), persistent (resisting environmental breakdown), and volatile (evaporating, subject to atmospheric transport) - properties giving these "conventional" pollutants the ability to concentrate in body fat (bioaccumulating in food chains) and to disperse globally, Despite the long, concerted attention afforded these conventional pollutants, it is not known what portion of total toxicity-risk they comprise. Indeed, many other classes of synthetic and naturally occurring toxicants can and do enter the environment.
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Citation:Daughton, C. G. Chemicals from Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products.E. Julius Dasch (ed.), Water: Science and Issues. Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY, 1:158-164, (2003).
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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: 06/06/2003
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Downloads:
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Bullet Item Chemicals from Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
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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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