Collaborative issues statement regarding pharmaceuticals in water

The Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative held its inaugural Environmental Health Summit on Nov. 10-11 assembling 150 experts to discuss "Pharmaceuticals in Water: What We Know, Don't Know and Should Do." Attendees were selected from the Research Triangle area of North Carolina and beyond and represented academia, industry, local, state and federal government and public interest groups...

• Inaugural summit gathered experts from government, industry and academia

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, Dec. 2, 2008 -- The Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative held its inaugural Environmental Health Summit on Nov. 10-11 assembling 150 experts to discuss "Pharmaceuticals in Water: What We Know, Don't Know and Should Do."

Attendees were selected from the Research Triangle area of North Carolina and beyond and represented academia, industry, local, state and federal government and public interest groups. Representatives from the EPA, FDA and USGS provided background information on the major environmental and potential human health issues and the current regulatory considerations. The European perspective was presented also by a renowned expert from the Brunel University Institute for the Environment. Following these plenary presentations, four working groups met for the remaining day and a half to determine the central questions and recommendations related to: 1) sources, fate and transport of pollutants; 2) human/ecological effects/risks; 3) best management practice; and 4) education and communication.

Following the conclusion of the Summit, the Collaborative issued this statement as an overall assessment: "If your drinking water meets current U.S. standards, your drinking water is considered safe and drinkable. We recognize that trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in combination with other chemicals have been found in water. These substances are coming from a variety of sources and are difficult to remove. There is limited information on how long-term, low-dose exposures affect humans and wildlife. U.S. standards may need to be developed for pharmaceutical compounds in drinking water or in aquatic systems as more information becomes available."

Each of the working groups identified the major issues, made recommendations and in some cases prioritized them. The Collaborative will summarize this information into a report to be published in the literature and presented to various government bodies in 2009.

>> More information and to view the Summit presentations

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