Pharmaceuticals, hormones, personal-care products, and other organic wastewater contaminants in water resources: Recent research activities of the U.S. Geological Survey's toxic substances hydrology program

Geohealth News
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Abstract

Recent decades have brought increasing concerns for potential contamination of water resources that could inadvertently result during production, use, and disposal of the numerous chemicals offering improvements in industry, agriculture, medical treatment, and even common household products. Increasing knowledge of the environmental occurrence or toxicological behavior of these contaminants from various studies in Europe, United States, and elsewhere has resulted in increased concern for potential adverse environmental and human health effects (Daughton and Ternes, 1999). Ecologists and public health experts often have incomplete understandings of the toxicological significance of many of these contaminants, particularly long-term, low-level exposure and when they occur in mixtures with other contaminants (Daughton and Ternes, 1999; Kümmerer, 2001). In addition, these ‘emerging contaminants’ are not typically monitored or assessed in ambient water resources. The need to understand the processes controlling the transport and fate of these contaminants in the environment, and the lack of knowledge of the significance of long-term exposures have increased the need to study environmental occurrence down to trace (nanogram per liter) levels. Furthermore, the possibility that mixtures of environmental contaminants may interact synergistically or antagonistically has increased the need to characterize the types of mixtures that are found in our waters. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Toxic Substances Hydrology Program (Toxics Program) is developing information and tools on emerging water-quality issues that will be used to design and improve water-quality monitoring and assessment programs of the USGS and others, and for proactive decision-making by industry, regulators, the research community, and the public (http://toxics.usgs.gov/regional/emc.html). This research on emerging water-quality issues includes a combination of laboratory work to develop new analytical capabilities as well as field work on the occurrence, fate, and effects of these contaminants.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pharmaceuticals, hormones, personal-care products, and other organic wastewater contaminants in water resources: Recent research activities of the U.S. Geological Survey's toxic substances hydrology program
Series title Geohealth News
Volume 2
Issue 1
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Iowa Water Science Center
Description 5 p.
First page 3
Last page 7
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N