196379 Pharmaceuticals and Person Care Products in Water - Toxicological Issues

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Susan B. Goldhaber, MPH , ToxServices, LLC, Raleigh, NC
Ann Marie Gebhart, PhD, MPH , ToxServices, LLC, Washington, DC
Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) have been detected in the nation's surface water, wastewater, and drinking water. PPCPs include prescription and nonprescription drugs, antibiotics, steroids, hormones, and fragrances. This issue achieved media attention in early 2008 when the Associated Press released a report stating that PPCPs were found in the drinking water of 24 large U.S. cities, serving approximately 41 million people. A number of occurrence studies have detected PPCPs in surface water, including a 1999-2000 study by the U.S. Geological Survey that found 80% of streams testing positive for one or more PPCP. These chemicals pose a potential risk to both aquatic organisms and human health. This paper discusses some of the toxicological issues involved in evaluating the harmful effects of PPCPs on aquatic organisms and on human health. For aquatic organisms, there is concern that traditional toxicity testing may not be adequate to address the subtle effects found from exposure to PPCPs. For human health, various risk assessment methods have been used to evaluate possible effects. Although most of the PPCPs have been detected at very low levels, there may be unintended health effects due to exposure to chemical mixtures. In addition, issues concerning length of exposure are of importance when evaluating the human health effects of the PPCPs. These and other toxicological issues will be discussed and evaluated in this paper.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify some of the pharmaceuticals and personal care products that have been detected in water. 2. Describe key toxicological issues involved in evaluating the harmful effects of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in water.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Water Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working in the area of environmental toxicology for 29 years. I have worked for the USEPA, the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, and as a consultant. I have a number of publications on related subject area and I presented an oral presentation at the APHA meeting in 2006.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.