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Hydrolytic Transformation of Emerging Contaminants

Project Purpose:
The purpose of this project is to assess the fate of emerging contaminants, with emphasis on pharmaceuticals and their abiotic hydrolytic transformations, at environmentally relevant conditions. A common reaction pathway of organic chemicals in aquatic environments is hydrolysis. Although hydrolysis of environmental pollutants has been studied for several decades, there is still a need to assess the hydrolytic transformation of many new chemicals of environmental concern. Such information should be of utmost importance in the development of a predictive model for hydrolysis, which should prove useful (1) in regulating existing and emerging pollutants that could reach sensitive aquatic ecosystems and (2) in the design of new chemicals.

Project Description(s):
This study will focus on the hydrolysis of emerging contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), which are relevant due to their potential to undergo hydrolysis in the environment and the deleterious environmental effects they may pose. The effect of environmental variables, which could include pH, temperature, dissolved metals, natural organic matter, and solid media, on the rate of hydrolysis of such chemicals will be evaluated. The initial set of pharmaceuticals to be studied has been selected based on the results of Kostich (NERL/EERD) and Lazorchak (NERL/EERD) of their project titled "An informatic approach to estimating ecological risks posed by pharmaceutical use."

Project Outcomes:
Journal articles on the abiotic transformations of pharmaceuticals at environmentally relevant conditions. Rate constants derived from this project will be used to train the SPARC (SPARC Performs Automated Reasoning in Chemistry) hydrolysis model for amides and ureas.

Dalizza Colon at colon.dalizza@epa.gov

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