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Outreach and Defining the Scope of the Issues and Concerns Surrounding Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) as Environmental Pollutants 1999 - 2014

Project Purpose:
(i) Define the scope of the scientific issues involved with PPCPs in the environment; (ii) Assist those new to the topic with locating published data and with networking; (iii) Advance the scientific dialog and catalyze debate in determining the importance of the topic with respect to environmental pollution; (iv) Enhance the public's overall awareness and understanding of the origins of chemical pollution and their individual roles (through their everyday activities, actions, and behaviors) in its causes and prevention; (v) Foster international research both within and outside government; (vi) Create collaborations and networks among scientists, and foster better scientific understanding of the issues among the healthcare communities; (vii) Address inquiries from the public, scientists, state and local governments, and municipal water utilities; and (viii) provide advice to federal agencies (e.g., DEA, ONDCP, EPA Program Offices).

Project Description(s):
From its inception, this project has involved a wide spectrum of activities originally targeted at increasing the knowledge base of the scientific, public, healthcare, and regulated communities with respect to PPCPs. This has entailed efforts over a wide range of activities, including: (i) Publishing seminal overviews and critical examinations of various aspects of the issue, including: the potential for ecological impact, the need for environmental stewardship (including pollution prevention), improving risk communication for contaminated drinking water (especially with respect to water reuse), new perspectives on "emerging pollutants, research needs and gaps, and use of drug residues in the environment to gage societal consumption patterns (e.g., illicit drugs); (ii) Creating and maintaining the world's first web site devoted to many of the aspects of PPCPs; (iii) Responding to national and international inquires from the public, teachers, students, scientists, industry, private entities (consulting firms, attorney offices, pharmaceutical industry), healthcare industry (pharmacists and physicians), state and local governments, and municipal water utilities, (iv) Providing interviews with the media and technical publications and fact checking news articles; (v) Making invited keynote and technical presentations at local, regional, and national/international levels, (vi) Advising federal agencies on the scientific background required for developing public guidance or possible regulatory action; and (vii) Organizing key national conferences and providing peer review for journal editors and for grant proposals submitted to the EPA and other organizations.

Project Outcomes:
This project has: (i) Created worldwide access to a wide range of materials useful for exploring the many dimensions of PPCPs as pollutants; (ii) Fostered interest in PPCPs as pollutants among scientists, the medical community, state and federal regulators, water utilities, public, teachers, and students (as such, it has increased the public's appreciation for the role that every individual plays in pollution and in protecting the environment); (iii) Increased attention for the need to design and implement a nationwide approach for disposing of leftover PPCPs and for the need for more effectively communicating risks associated with water reuse; (iv) Helped catalyze attention and better focus by regulators; (v) Helped catalyze an international discussion on the wider topic of "emerging pollutants" in general.

Christian Daughton at daughton.christian@epa.gov

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