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What’s In the Water We Drink?. Washington’s tap water, most of which comes from the Potomac River, meets or exceeds federal water-quality standards. But new pollutants have emerged that are not removed by current water-purification technology. Evidence suggests that the same contaminants that caused massive fish kills and deformities in recent years are linked to increases in obesity, diabetes, autism, cancer, and other disorders—and that medications and products we use every day might contribute to the problem. http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/whats-in-the-water-we-drink-2/
Steroid hormone runoff from agricultural test plots applied with municipal
biosolids. Yang, Y.-Y.; Gray, J. L.; Furlong, E. T.; Davis, J. G.;
ReVello, R. C.; Borch, T., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012,
Download here(2.7 MB)
Reuse of Municipal Wastewater Has Significant Potential to Augment Future U.S. Drinking Water Supplies (January 10, 2012) - The National Research Council of the National Academies has released a report which finds that "... with recent advances in technology and design, treating municipal wastewater and reusing it for drinking water, irrigation, industry, and other applications could significantly increase the nation's total available water resources, particularly in coastal areas facing water shortages ... Moreover, new analyses suggest that the possible health risks of exposure to chemical contaminants and disease-causing microbes from wastewater reuse do not exceed, and in some cases may be significantly lower than, the risks of existing water supplies ... The report examines a wide range of reuse applications ... [and] outlines wastewater treatment technologies for mitigating chemical and microbial contaminants, including both engineered and natural treatment systems ... Also, it lists 14 areas of research to help guide the country on how to apply water reuse appropriately ..." Web site: The January 10, 2012 National Academies News Release is posted at
The National Academies report is available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13303
Key Findings from the report are posted at http://dels.nas.edu/Report/water-reuse/13303
Bisphenol A (BPA), a Substance Used in some Food Packaging - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) intends to review "... two reports on Bisphenol A following their recent publication by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) ... [and] will analyse the reports in light of its previous risk assessment and consider the underlying reasons for any different views regarding the potential health effects of Bisphenol A. The final outcome of this work will be provided to the European Commission by the end of November 2011 ..." - EFSA has a "... specific contract with the University of Parma for the on-going screening and monitoring of the scientific literature on Bisphenol A ..." Document Title: The title of the October 19, 2011 EFSA News Story is "EFSA to analyse new Bisphenol A reports". Organization: European Food Safety Authority. Source: October 19, 2011 EFSA News Story. Web site: The October 19, 2011 EFSA News Story is posted at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/111019.htm . The EFSA mandate, titled "ANSES reports on Bisphenol A (M-2011-0322)", is posted at http://registerofquestions.efsa.europa.eu/roqFrontend/mandateLoader?mandate=M-2011-0322 . The EFSA Scientific Opinion on Bisphenol A which was adopted on September 23, 2010 is posted at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1829.htm
Breath-Takingly Simple Test for Human Exposure to
Potentially Toxic Substances .
.ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2011) — The search for a rapid, non-invasive way to determine whether people have been exposed to potentially toxic substances in their workplaces, homes and elsewhere in the environment has led scientists to a technology that literally takes a person's breath away. Their report identifying exhaled breath as an ideal indicator of such exposure appears in ACS'
Endocrine effects include direct effects on traditional endocrine glands, their hormones and receptors (such as estrogens, anti-androgens, and thyroid hormones), as well as signaling cascades that affect many of the body’s systems, including reproductive function and fetal development, the nervous system and behavior, the immune and metabolic systems, the liver, bones and many other organs, glands and tissues.
To date (July 18, 2011) there are approximately 850 endocrine disruptors on the TEDX List, which is available as a Microsoft Excel file for easy searching and sorting. Each row in the file shows the following columns: Chemical Name, Alternative Names, CAS Number, TEDX Number, Year (of cited publication), and Citation. Chemicals with multiple citations have multiple rows in the database; rows are shaded for ease of reading. http://www.endocrinedisruption.org/home.php2,500 Products Now Approved under EPA Safer Product Labeling Program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that more than 2,500 products are now authorized by the agency under its Design for the Environment (DfE)Safer Product Labeling Program to carry the DfE label. DfE-labeled products do not contain known chemicals of potential concern, like carcinogens, reproductive or developmental toxicants. Even minor product components, like dyes and fragrances, are screened for safety. EPA is also announcing that it soon will require manufacturers with products that bear the DfE logo to disclose their ingredients to consumers. Before allowing the DfE logo to be used on a product label, EPA conducts a scientific evaluation to ensure that candidate products are formulated from the safest possible ingredients. The DfE label means that EPA has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that the product contains only ingredients that, in EPA’s scientific opinion, pose the least concern among chemicals in their class. Products that carry the DfE label include all-purpose cleaners, laundry and dishwasher detergents, drain line maintainers, car and boat care and other products. Using DfE- labeled products significantly reduces exposures to chemicals that may be of concern to people’s or environmental health. More information on the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program and Standard for Safer Products: http://epa.gov/dfe
Scientists are reporting detection of
potentially toxic flame retardants in car seats, bassinet mattresses,
nursing pillows, high chairs, strollers, and other products that contain
polyurethane foam and are designed for newborns, infants and toddlers.
In a study in ACS' journal
Environmental Science & Technology,
they describe hints that one flame retardant, banned years ago in some
areas, actually remains in use. "To the authors knowledge, this is the first
study to report on flame retardants in baby products," the report states.
Heather M. Stapleton and colleagues point out that health concerns led to a
phase-out in use of penta brominated diphenyl ethers (pentaBDE), once the
most popular flame retardant, prior to 2004. Flame retardants are added
during manufacture to reduce the risk of polyurethane foam catching fire and
to slow down burning if it does. Seeking to meet government flammability
standards, manufacturers then turned to other flame retardants, which in
many cases, have less health data available. The situation left gaps in
knowledge about exactly which flame retardants were being used in
polyurethane foam products, and at what concentrations. Stapleton's group
set out to fill those gaps. They detected potentially toxic flame
retardants in 80 percent of the polyurethane foam samples collected from 101
common baby products. Among them were compounds associated with pentaBDE,
suggesting that the substance -- banned in 172 countries and 12 U.S. states
-- still remains in use, as well as two potential carcinogens, TCEP and
TDCPP. "Future studies are therefore warranted to specifically measure
infants exposure to these flame retardants from intimate contact with these
products, and to determine if there are any associated health concerns," the
Many agricultural pesticides – including some previously untested and commonly found in food – disrupt male hormones, according to new tests conducted by British scientists. The researchers strongly recommended that all pesticides in use today be screened to check if they block testosterone, which is critical to men’s and boys’ reproductive health. Thirty out of 37 pesticides tested by the University of London altered male hormones, including 16 that had no known hormonal activity until now. Most are fungicides applied to fruit and vegetable crops, including strawberries and lettuce. More here.
EPA Provides Public with Easier Access to Chemical Information. December 22, 2010. EPA has introduced a new web-based tool that will enable the public to search for and have easy access to health and safety studies on industrial chemicals. The chemical data access tool allows users to conduct a chemical-specific search for health and safety studies that have been submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The new tool will for the first time give the public the ability to electronically search EPA’s database of more than 10,000 health and safety documents on a wide range of chemicals that they may come into contact with every day. Under TSCA, companies are required to submit health and safety studies to the agency when they show there may be a substantial risk, when chemical testing is required, or to facilitate EPA's review of new chemicals. http://java.epa.gov/oppt_chemical_search/
EPA to Expand Chemicals Testing for Endocrine Disruption. November 16, 2010. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified a list of 134 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made it a top priority to ensure the safety of chemicals, and this is another step in this process. More information: http://www.epa.gov/endo
EPA Pharmaceutical Guidance:
August 2010 EPA draft guidance developed for hospitals, medical clinics,
doctors' offices, long-term care facilities, and veterinary facilities to
provide alternative management methods to flushing/disposing unused
pharmaceuticals down the drain.
Are Oral Contraceptives a Significant Contributor to the Estrogenicity of Drinking Water?: Recent observed feminization of aquatic animals has raised concerns about estrogenic compounds in water supplies and the potential for these chemicals to reach drinking water. Public perception frequently attributes this feminization to oral contraceptives (OCs) in wastewater and raises concerns that exposure to OCs in drinking water may contribute to the recent rise in human reproductive problems. This paper reviews the literature regarding various sources of estrogens, in surface, source and drinking water, with an emphasis on the active molecule that comes from OCs. It includes discussion of the various agricultural, industrial, and municipal sources and outlines the contributions of estrogenic chemicals to the estrogenicity of waterways and estimates that the risk of exposure to synthetic estrogens in drinking water on human health is negligible. This paper also provides recommendations for strategies to better understand all the potential sources of estrogenic compounds in the environment and possibilities to reduce the levels of estrogenic chemicals in the water supply. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es1014482
Bipartisan Federal Law Enables Safe Disposal of Medicines: October 13, 2010 - The Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act will give communities more options for providing secure take-back programs to prevent drug abuse, reduce the chances of accidental poisonings, and keep pharmaceutical drugs out of the environment. The Drug Enforcement Administration will begin to promulgate new regulations that will provide residents and long-term care facilities with greater flexibility to dispose of drugs that might include drop-off programs and mail-back options. Until now, opportunities to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs have been limited. Under current law, consumers are prohibited from giving certain unneeded, unused, or expired drugs to anyone besides law enforcement officers.
Monitoring human exposure to environmental pollutants: The title of the August 16, 2010 Health Canada Report is "Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada". Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/chms-ecms/index-eng.php
Dental Amalgam/Categorical Standards: The Environmental Council of States (ECOS) has sent EPA a letter requesting action by EPA on developing effluent guidelines for dental mercury (amalgam). See the letter at: http://www.ecos.org/files/4181_file_ECOS_Letter_to_Silva_on_Effluent_Guidelines_Resolution.pdf
Emerging Pollutants of Concern and Treatment: EPA is releasing the results of an extensive literature review of published studies of the effectiveness of various treatment technologies for contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). EPA also is releasing a report that discusses some of the results of the literature search, including removals of specific CECs across common wastewater treatment technologies. In response to emerging concerns about the possible impacts of pharmaceuticals, detergents, hormones, and other chemicals on human health and aquatic organisms, EPA searched over 400 articles that referenced treatment of CECs. About 100 of those sources contained treatment information which was entered into a searchable database. EPA compiled and summarized the results reported by researchers in the last five years. The research studies occurred primarily in the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. The report discusses 16 of the over 200 CECs present in the database, and the average percent removals achieved by full-scale treatment systems that employ six of the more than 20 reported treatment technologies. http://epa.gov/waterscience/ppcp/studies/results.html
EPA to Take Action on Chemicals Used in Dyes, Flame Retardants,
and Industrial Detergents (08/18/2010): EPA
released action plans today to address the potential health risks of
benzidine dyes, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and nonylphenol (NP)/nonylphenol
ethoxylates (NPEs). The chemicals are widely used in both consumer and
industrial applications, including dyes, flame retardants, and
industrial laundry detergents. The plans identify a range of actions the
agency is considering under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Exposure to Environmental Contaminants in
Farmed Atlantic Salmon Fish Oil Leads to Insulin Resistance Syndrome.
The title of the November 19, 2009 EHP article is
"Persistent Organic Pollutant Exposure Leads to Insulin Resistance
Author(s): Jérôme Ruzzin, et. al. Web site:
Pharmaceuticals in the environment – January 2009 Workshop Research Findings. Organization: European Environment Agency (EEA), an agency of the European Union
Web site: The report is at http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/pharmaceuticals-in-the-environment-result-of-an-eea-workshop/at_download/file
The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) has a
web site on emerging containments.
Micropollutants Clearing House is an on-line, publically accessible, research resource on the legal, regulatory, institutional, policy, and related scientific aspects of micropollutants in fresh water systems. http://www.micropollutants.org/
The GeoHealth Newsletter provides information on: New USGS activities related to human health, upcoming meetings related to earth science and public health, and new and upcoming USGS health-related publications. The Newsletter is issued twice a year on this Web site. Current Issue — Vol. 7, No. 2, Winter 2009/2010
The WACAP (Western Airborne Contaminants Assessment Project) Database, along with associated Users Guide, and Metadata file, is now available on line at: http://www.nature.nps.gov/air/studies/air_toxics/wacap.cfm
Protecting the Great Lakes from Pharmaceutical Pollution. http://www.greatlakes.org/Document.Doc?id=810
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Drinking Water: Risks to Human Health and the Environment Hearings - Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing entitled, "Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Drinking Water: Risks to Human Health and the Environment," on Thursday, February 25, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. This hearing examined the science and regulation of endocrine disruptors that may be found in sources of drinking water.
Environmental Contaminants in Farmed Atlantic Salmon Fish Oil Leads to Insulin
Document Title: The title of the November 19, 2009 EHP article is "Persistent Organic Pollutant Exposure Leads to Insulin Resistance Syndrome"
Author(s): Jérôme Ruzzin, et. al.
Web site: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2009/0901321/abstract.pdf
Pharmaceuticals in the environment – January 2009 Workshop Research Findings.
Organization: European Environment Agency (EEA), an agency of the European Union
Web site: The report is at http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/pharmaceuticals-in-the-environment-result-of-an-eea-workshop/at_download/file
General Information on Emerging Contaminants
USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Water Environment Research Foundation information on Endocrine Disrupting Compounds
Water Research Foundation (formerly AwwaRF)
USEPA Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) as Environmental Pollutants
Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane and Xavier University
e.hormone - your gateway to the environment and hormones
Presentations from the Emerging Contaminants Workshop sponsored by the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin in Sept. 2005
USEPA webpage on Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Fluorinated Telomers
US Department of Defense - Materials of Emerging Regulatory Interest Team (MERIT) consists of individuals throughout the Department of Defense with a common interest in emerging contaminants
US Department of Defense - Emerging Contaminants Action List contains those materials that have been assessed and judged to have a significant potential impact on people or the DoD mission
EC-related non-Government organization and studies websites:
Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network - Hormonally Active Agents in Boulder Creek
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
The Endocrine Society
Online resource for the drinking water quality community
Environmental Health News
Our Stolen Future
National Tap Water Quality Database (by the Environmental Working Group)
Results of study on toxics in automobiles (by the Ecology Center)
Pollution in People study by the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition (May 2006)
Emerging Contaminants - Linking Science to Effective Action (Institute for Environmental Solutions)
Pharmacy and Health Industry Related Info:
The Internet Drug Index
Hospitals for a healthy environment (from Healthcare Environmental Resource Center)
Pharmecology Associates, LLC - company dedicated to establishing compliant and cost-effective procedures to manage pharmaceutical waste
Activities related to ECs in Europe:
EUROPA website on endocrine disrupters
Research into endocrine disruption in Europe
Information on the European Union’s Chemical Policy - Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH)
Reports and research articles
Barber, L.B., Murphy, S.P., Verplanck, P.L., Sandstrom, M.W., Taylor, H.E., and Furlong, E.T., 2006a. Chemical loading into surface water along a hydrological, biogeochemical, and land use gradient: A Holistic watershed approach: Environmental Science and Technology, 40, p. 475-486.
Barber, L.B., Keefe, S.H., Antweiler, R.C., Taylor, H.E., and Wass, R.D., 2006b. Accumulation of contaminants in fish from wastewater treatment wetlands: Environmental Science and Technology, 40(2), p. 603-611.
Barnes, K.K., Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Zaugg, S.D., Meyer, M.T., and Barber, L.B., 2008. A national reconnaissance of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants in the United States—1) Groundwater. Science of the total Environment 402, 192-200.
Catriona, P., Rhind, S.M., Kyle, C.E., Scott H., McKinnell C., and Sharpe, R.M., 2005, Cellular and hormonal disruption of fetal testis development in sheep reared on pasture treated with sewage sludge: Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(11), p. 1580-1587.
Drewes, J. E. & Shore, L. S. 2001. Concerns about pharmaceuticals in water reuse, groundwater recharge, and animal waste. In: Ch. Daughton and T. L. Jones-Lepp (Eds.) American Chemical Society Symposium Series 791 “Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment" No. 791, Washington, D.C., 206-228.
Drewes, J. E., Heberer, T., Rauch, T. & Reddersen, K. 2003. Fate of pharmaceuticals during groundwater recharge. J. Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation 23, 3, 64-72.
Drewes, J. E., Hemming, J., Ladenburger, S., Schauer, J. & Sonzogni, W. 2005. An assessment of endocrine disrupting activity changes in water reclamation systems through the use of bioassays and chemical measurements. Water Environment Research 77, 1, 12-23.
Drewes, J. E., Hemming, J., Schauer, J., and Sonzogni, W. 2006. Removal of Endocrine Disrputing Compounds in Water Reclamation Processes. Final Report 01-HHE-20T. Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF). Alexandria, Virginia.
Focazio, M.J., Kolpin, D.W., Barnes, K.K., Furlong, E.T., Meyer, M.T., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., and Thurman, M.E., 2008. A national reconnaissance of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants in the United States—II) Untreated drinking water sources. Science of the total Environment 402, 201-216.
Global Water Research Coalition, 2004, Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the water cycle: Global Water Research Coalition, London, UK, 35 p.
Jobling, S., Nolan, M., Tyler, C.R., Brighty, G., and Sumpter, J.P. 1998 Widespread sexual disruption in wild fish. Environ. Sci. Technol. 32, 2498-2506.
Kavanagh, R.J., Balxh, G.C., Kiparissis, Y., Niimi, A.J., Sherry, J., Tinson, C., and Metcalfe, C.D. 2004. Endocrine disruption and altered gonadal development in white perch (Morone Americana) from the lower Great Lakes region. Environ. Health Perspect. 112, 898-902.
Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Werner, S.L., and Cahill, J.D., 2006, Presence and distribution of wastewater-derived pharmaceuticals in soil irrigated with reclaimed water: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 25(2), p. 317-326.
Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., and Buxton, H.T., 2002. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000—A national reconnaissance. Environmental Science & Technology, 36(6): 1202-1211.
Lee, K.E., Barber, L.B., Furlong, E.T., Cahill, J.D., Kolpin, D.W., Meyer, M.T., and Zaugg, S.D., 2004. Presence and distribution of organic wastewater compounds in wastewater, surface, ground, and drinking waters, Minnesota, 2000-2002: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigation Report 2004-5138, 47 p.
Lorraine, G.A. and Pettigrove, M.E., 2006. Seasonal variations in concentrations of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking water and reclaimed wastewater in Southern California. Environmental Science and Technology 40: 687-695.
Mannina, G. L. 2006. Medicines in the Environment: Legal and Regulatory Storms Ahead? Legal Backgrounder 21, 11, 1-4. Washington Legal Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Mansell, J. and Drewes, J. E. (2004). Fate of steroidal hormones during soil-aquifer treatment (SAT). J. Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation. 24, 2, 94-101.
Pomati, F., Castiglioni, S., Zuccato E., Fanelli R., Vigetti D., Rossetti C., and Calamri D., 2006, Effects of a complex mixture of therapeutic drugs at environmental levels on human embryonic cells: Environmental Science and Technology, 40(7), p. 2442-2447.
Silva, E., Rajapakse N., and Kortenkamp, A., 2002, Something from “nothing” – eight weak estrogenic chemicals combined at concentrations below NOECs produce significant mixture effects: Environmental Science and Technology, 36(8), p. 1751-1756.
Sprague, L.A., and Battaglin, W.A., 2005. Wastewater chemicals in Colorado’s streams and ground water. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3127, 4 p.
Ternes, T.A., 1998. Occurrence of drugs in German sewage treatment plants and rivers. Water Resources Research, 32(11), p. 1245-1260.
Vajda, A.M., Barber, L.B., Gray, J.L., Lopez, E.M., Woodling, J.D., and Norris, D.O., 2008. Reproductive disruption in fish downstream from an estrogenic wastewater effluent. Environmental Science and Technology 42(9): 3407-3414.
Westerhoff, P., Yoon, Y., Snyder, S., and Wert, E. (2005). Fate of endocrine-disruptor, pharmaceutical, and personal care product chemicals during simulated drinking water treatment processes. Environmental Science and Technology 39, 17, 6649-63
Yang, S., and Carlson, K., 2003. Evolution of antibiotic occurrence in a river through pristine, urban, and agricultural landscapes: Water Research, 37(19), p. 4645-4656.
Younos, Tamim, 2005. Emerging threats to drinking water quality. Renewable Resources Journal, 23(2), p. 6-12.