Occurrence and Fate of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in an Estuarine Environment

EPA Grant Number: F5B20271
Title: Occurrence and Fate of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in an Estuarine Environment
Investigators: Bisceglia, Kevin J.
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $111,172
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


The objective of this research is to quantitatively investigate the occurrence and behavior of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in an estuarine environment. This will be accomplished using a combination of experimental observations (field and laboratory investigations) and mathematical modeling.


The focus of this study will be on PPCPs that are likely to be present at environmentally and ecologically relevant concentrations. A representative suite of PPCPs possessing considerable diversity in molecular structure and, therefore, environmental behavior, will be selected. Analytical methods (involving solid-phase extraction, followed by derivatization as appropriate and GC/MS analysis) that are suitable for multiresidue analysis of a broad array of PPCPs have already been developed in our laboratory. A series of field investigations will be initiated to quantify the loading and dynamics of the analyte suite in the Back River estuary and the upper Chesapeake Bay under different environmental conditions. A numerical fate and transport model will be developed and calibrated to analyze the data generated from these field investigations, with the specific purpose of estimating removal rates and identifying potentially relevant removal pathways for each compound. Finally, laboratory and additional computational studies will be performed to investigate the removal pathways inferred from the field scale investigations. As part of these studies, the accuracy of current property estimation models in predicting PPCP fate and removal will be evaluated.

Expected Results:

This research will produce the first quantitative measurements of the fate of PPCPs in an estuarine environment under real-world conditions, information that is vital for conducting accurate risk and exposure assessments. It will also explore the discrepancies that exist between lab- and field-derived PPCP fate data, thus providing insights that can be used in designing more realistic approaches for evaluating chemical fate in lab-scale experiments, and in better formulating fate expressions in field-scale modeling studies. Investigating the adequacy of computational models in predicting real world removal rates will provide insights into the strengths and limitations of available models. Such knowledge is especially pertinent at present, as regulatory agencies are beginning to rely heavily on such models when assessing the risk posed by new and existing chemicals, including PPCPs.

Supplemental Keywords:

pharmaceuticals and personal care products, PPCPs, PhACs, chemical fate and transport, modeling, environmental modeling, estuaries, Chesapeake Bay, property estimation methods, emerging contaminants, environmental chemistry, environmental engineering,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Environmental Chemistry, Aquatic Ecosystem, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, fate and transport, estuarine research, ecosystem monitoring, personal care products, aquatic ecosystems, pharmaceutical, Chesapeake Bay

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final