Tools to Assess Potential Water Contaminants
EPA researchers are developing high tech tools called "Dashboards" to help assess potential water contaminants.
There are tens of thousands of chemicals in the environment. Only a small fraction of these chemicals have been thoroughly evaluated for their impacts on human health and the environment.
To help prioritize chemicals for testing, EPA researchers and their partners are developing user-friendly online tools called Dashboards. These interactive web-based tools will make chemical information available and accessible to EPA's program offices and others who make policy and regulatory decisions related to chemicals.
Being designed hand-in-hand with stakeholders and partners, the Dashboards will provide accessible, user-friendly chemical exposure data, hazard data, decision rules, and predictive models.
The information will help decision makers prioritize chemicals that warrant further testing and will eventually help predict a chemical's potential to cause harm to human health and the environment.
EPA researchers are currently developing three Dashboards to provide information for those responsible for taking action to protect the nation's water resources. Because of the many hurdles faced in protecting our water, these three Dashboards work in different but important ways:
The Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) identifies priority contaminants for regulatory decision-making and information collection. The latest, CCL 3 (published October 2009), includes 104 chemicals or chemical groups and 12 microbiological contaminants that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems.
CCL 3 includes contaminants that:
- Are currently not subject to any proposed or publicized national primary drinking water regulations
- Are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems
- May require regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act
- The Office of Water in the 21st Century (OW21) Dashboard will organize available contamination data to help identify chemicals for future drinking water contaminant lists (see Contaminant Candidate List sidebar). It will also help prioritize chemicals on existing lists and helps determine if any chemicals need additional testing.
- The Ubertool Dashboard combines different data sources and ecological models to help decision makers estimate the effects of chemicals on aquatic plants and animals.
- The Endocrine Disruption Screening Program in the 21st Century (EDSP21) Dashboard will support EPA’s Endocrine Disruption Screening Program by providing data on approximately 2,000 endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) screened by EPA’s Toxicity Forecaster. EDCs are of particular concern to fish and other aquatic species, and the Dashboard will help prioritize them for testing.
EPA scientists and engineers are currently sharing Dashboards prototypes with EPA program offices for input and improvement. When complete, the Dashboards will efficiently and effectively enhance EPA’s assessment of potential water contaminants, leading to healthier water resources for everyone.