Establishing a new safety standard for drinking water treatment processes - EPA and USGS
Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), for example, personal care products, hormones, and pharmaceuticals, can now be detected at very low levels using improved technologies. This has allowed researchers to identified CECs in a variety of environments, both urban and agricultural, from soil and groundwater to human tissue.
The occurrence of CECs in the environment has been well researched, yet data on CECs in finished (often referred to as potable) water, i.e. water considered safe for drinking, is greatly lacking. To address this deficiency in data, a team of researchers hailing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was brought together to study a set of 247 CECs in 25 water treatment plants across 24 states. The data collected from this study is now used as a baseline for drinking-water treatment processes, as well as for determining the potential for human exposure to these CECs.
This study was the first to combine measurements of CECs with an assessment of possible risk to humans and the ecosystem. Several papers have now been published in Science of the Total Environment. These papers more specifically examine the various types of CECs (hormone, pharmaceuticals, etc.) and their impact on the environment, and consequently, health of the public.
Original research paper can be found here:
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