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Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (Ppcps) as Environmental Pollutants: Pollution from Personal Actions

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Abstract:The occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) as trace environmental pollutants is a multifaceted issue whose scope of concerns continues to expand. PPCPs comprise thousands of distinct chemicals from numerous therapeutic and consumer classes. They typically occur as trace environmental pollutants (primarily in surface but also in ground waters) as a result of their widespread, continuous, combined usage in a broad range of human and veterinary therapeutic activities and practices. With respect to the risk-assessment paradigm, the growing body of published work has focused primarily on the origin and occurrence of these substances. Comparatively less is known about human and ecological exposure, and even less about the documented or potential hazards associated with trace exposure to these anthropogenic substances, many of which are highly bioactive and perpetually present in many aquatic locales. The continually growing, worldwide importance of freshwater resources underscores the need for ensuring that any aggregate or cumulative impacts on water supplies and resultant potential for human or ecological exposure be minimized.

Of the many facets involved in this complex issue, that of sources/origins and environmental occurrence is the better understood end of the larger spectrum. The potential for adverse ecological or human health effects (especially from long-term, combined exposure to multiple xenobiotics at low concentrations) is the largest unknown.

Beginning in the late 1990's, the Environmental Chemistry Branch (ECB) at NERL-Las Vegas became involved in several international activities involving PPCPs. This initial work has now evolved into a lead role at EPA. ECB's work is captured on the Agency's PPCPs web site (http://www.epa.gov/nerlesd1/chemistry/pharma), which is the only comprehensive site in the world devoted to this topic. The web site serves as a central point of access and major public outreach tool for a wide array of materials and information.

ECB's role serves in part to catalyze research, and to foster collaborative efforts. In the span of the last 4 years, what had originally been a predominantly European-led effort, now involves researchers from other federal agencies (esp. CDC, FDA USDA, and USGS), other countries (e.g., Health Canada), and universities (e.g., EPA STAR grants targeted to PPCPs).
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Citation:Daughton, C. G. Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (Ppcps) as Environmental Pollutants: Pollution from Personal Actions. Presented at Regional Science Liaison/Hazardous Substances Technical Liaison Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, February 26, 2004.
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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: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 02/26/2004
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Addressing Emerging Issues in Water Quality Through Environmental Chemistry
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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