211412 Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Regulatory Challenges

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:51 AM

Edward V. Ohanian, PhD , Office of Water, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
The US Environmental Protection Agency is responding to the issues of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in water with a four-pronged strategy aimed at: strengthening scientific knowledge; improving public understanding; identifying partnership and stewardship opportunities; and taking regulatory action when appropriate. The Agency has a number of activities underway in each of these areas. To strengthen scientific understanding of the behavior of PPCPs in water, the Agency is conducting a number of studies to better understand the potential sources and occurrence of pharmaceuticals in wastewater, biosolids and fish tissue. To understand risks to human health, EPA has research underway to help determine whether very low levels of pharmaceuticals in water might present a risk to human health. In addition, the Agency consulted the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for their ideas and opinions regarding human health risks. To improve public understanding of risks, EPA developed two public websites. Another essential component of the strategy is to build partnerships for stewardship opportunities. Along these lines, EPA is participating in the Federal Interagency Pharmaceuticals in the Environment workgroup to better coordinate Federal research efforts. To establish international partnerships, EPA is participating in the World Health Organization (WHO) Task Force on PPCPs in drinking water. Agency decisions are based on the foundation of sound science and reliable information. Once this foundation is established, the Agency's strategy is to rely on existing regulatory tools, when appropriate, to minimize the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the environment from wastewater sources.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the Environmental Protection Agency's 4 pronged strategy to address contaminants of emerging concern like pharmaceuticals. 2. Discuss regulatory challenges related to pharmaceuticals in the environment. 3. Explain steps the Agency plans to take to deal with the challenges.

Keywords: EPA, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have considerable experience in presenting scientific papers. For the past 20 years, I have served as presenter, moderator, and organizer of national and international meetings.
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.