Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are a diverse group of chemicals including:
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are introduced to the environment as pollutants in a variety of ways, including:
A study by the U.S. Geological Survey published in 2002 brought attention to PPCPs in water. In a sampling of 139 susceptible streams in 30 states, detectable yet minute quantities of PPCPs were found in 80 percent of the streams. The most common pharmaceuticals detected were steroids and nonprescription drugs. Antibiotics, prescription medication, detergents, fire retardants, pesticides and natural and synthetic hormones were also found.
The potential human health risks associated with minute levels of PPCPs in water in general and drinking water in particular is still being determined. Until more is known, there is much the public health and environmental protection community can do to educate the public about taking proactive steps concerning the use and disposal of PPCPs.
PPCPs Threatening Water QualityFact Sheet
Sample Educational News ReleaseNews release template to share with local media outlets.
Nebraska MEDS CoalitionThe Groundwater Foundation is part of this group, working to educate the public about proper medication disposal.
Nebraska MEDS Coalition InfographicSee stats and information about drug disposal.
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