Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have aroused concern due to their detection, not only in sewage effluents and wastewaters, but also more broadly in environmental waters.
Thousands of tonnes of these compounds are used daily and research indicates that many pass through wastewater treatment plants (WWTP/STF) without elimination, contaminating rivers, estuaries and coastal waters. Hence, the widespread uses of these compounds render their presence of, not only the parent compounds but also of their metabolites, widespread.
To date, comparatively little information is available, especially with respect to the broad range of personal care products. More information is urgently needed to assess the behaviour of these compounds in transitional waters if we are to understand the potential for ecological impact and to protect our estuarine and marine resources.
The proposed laboratory and field work aims to address some of the main concerns regarding PPCPs. Both analytical and environmental components are necessary. Firstly, candidate PPCPs will be selected according to their likely persistence, bioaccumulative and toxicological properties coupled with their relative usage in the area of study.
Analytical techniques will be developed to quantify the compounds at appropriate sensitivity and relevant sampling strategies will be designed to investigate their environmental behaviours. Preliminary surveys will be undertaken to screen the occurrence of the selected (and other non-target PPCPs). Secondly, a sampling programme together with laboratory based physico-chemical and toxicology tests will be undertaken to appraise the environmental results.
A database (on a one-year basis) will be generated to record environmental occurrence and persistence and will be used to focus directions in monitoring strategies. It will also prove invaluable in risk assessments to develop policy relating to usage of PPCPs
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