Science Inventory



DAUGHTON, C. G. PPCPs IN THE ENVIRONMENT: AN OVERVIEW OF THE SCIENCE. Presented at California-Nevada Section AWWA, Las Vegas, NV, April 16 - 19, 2007.


The research focused on in the subtasks is the development and application of state-of the-art technologies to meet the needs of the public, Office of Water, and ORD in the area of Water Quality. Located In the subtasks are the various research projects being performed in support of this Task and more in-depth coverage of each project. Briefly, each project's objective is stated below.

Subtask 1: To integrate state-of-the-art technologies (polar organic chemical integrative samplers, advanced solid-phase extraction methodologies with liquid chromatography/electrospray/mass spectrometry) and apply them to studying the sources and fate of a select list of PPCPs. Application and improvement of analytical methodologies that can detect non-volatile, polar, water-soluble pharmaceuticals in source waters at levels that could be environmentally significant (at concentrations less than parts per billion, ppb). IAG with USGS ends in FY05. APM 20 due in FY05.

Subtask 2: Coordination of interagency research and public outreach activities for PPCPs. Participate on NSTC Health and Environment subcommittee working group on PPCPs. Web site maintenance and expansion, invited technical presentations, invited articles for peer-reviewed journals, interviews for media, responding to public inquiries.

Subtask 3: To apply state-of-the-art environmental forensic techniques to the recognition and characterization of emerging pollutants in the aquatic environment. There is a need for high sensitivity and for a powerful method of structural characterization, advanced mass spectrometric and chromatographic techniques to be employed to meet the challenge of emerging pollutants, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products, agents of sabotage, and explosives. Ongoing efforts continue to identify previously unrecognized pollutants from a range of problematic samples having importance to regional and state contacts.

Subtask 4: To provide the Agency with a set of practical analytical methods for the selective and sensitive determination of selenium species (organic, inorganic, volatile and non volatile forms) in multiple media to accurately assess and if necessary control the risk of selenium exposure to organisms. This includes development of optimal extraction, digestion, separation and detection approaches.

Subtask 5: To develop and apply an analytical method that can extract and detect synthetic musks. The extent of exposure may be determined by measuring levels of synthetic musks from their potential source (communal sewage effluent). This subtask ends in FY05 with the deliverable of APM 21. Future applications to biosolids will be covered in subtask 6.

Subtask 6: Application, and improvement, of previously in-house developed sensitive, robust, and green, methodologies regarding the use of urobilin and sterols as a possible markers of sewage contamination.

Subtask 7: Adaptation and improvement of previously developed in-house methods, for PPCPs (e.g., antibiotics and musks) to solid materials (e.g. biosolids, sediments).

Subtask 8: Study of the presence of personal care products, incombustible organic compounds from the direct-piping of small engines exhaust in Lake Tahoe, and lake deposition of airborne pollutants from industrial activity


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) comprise a large,diverse array of contaminants that can enter the environment from the combined activities, actions, and behaviors of multitudes of individualsas well as from veterinary and agricultural use (, bathing, and disposal of leftover medications are the three primary routes of release from human activities ( As trace environmentalc ontaminants in waters, sediments, and sewage sludge,they are largely unregulated in the U.S. The concentrations of individual active ingredients in environmental samples such as surface waters often range from parts-per-billion to parts-per-trillion - micrograms to nanograms per liter. Multiple active ingredients and their degradates, however, frequently occur together.The total, combined levels of these substances in a given environmental sample can be 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than their individual levels in waters, or upto the mg/kg level in treated sewage sludge ("biosolids," which is often disposed via application to land).While pharmaceuticalsare ubiquitous trace contaminants in the environment,the types, concentrations, and relative abundances of individual residues will vary depending on the waste treatment technologies employed and the geographic locale and time of year; contributing variables are variations in geographic prescribing and consumption practices. The efficiencies by which PPCPs can be removed from waste and water spans the entire spectrum (from nil to complete) as a function of the technology and the physicochemical properties of each PPCP. This presentation briefly summarizes some of what is known and not known about the occurrence of drugs in the environment, the potential for chroniceffects on wildlife(and some instances of acute effects), the relevance of drug residues ind rinking water to consumer risk perception, and actions that can be taken to reduce environmental exposure.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:04/19/2007
Record Last Revised:02/09/2009
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 161023