An Emerging Concern: The Health and Environmental Implications of Chemical Persistence

| September 13, 2017

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We are living in a chemical world. An estimated 10,000 pharmaceutical compounds are on the market today, and several decades of research studies have revealed that low levels of many of these compounds and their metabolites are turning up in the environment. In 2002, a study published by the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that water collected from streams and rivers contains pharmaceuticals and other chemicals; since then, additional studies have turned up similar results.1 The concern is that some of these compounds “are not passive, benign travellers in the environment but instead bio accumulative, persistent, and toxic to wildlife and possibly humans,” writes Sara Everts in a 2010 feature story for Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) titled, “Drugs in the Environment.

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