Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are considered to be ongoing emerging contaminants because they are a perceived and potential threat to public health and wildlife, there is a lack of  protective standards, and limited toxicity and source/pathway exposure information is evolving.

PPCPs include medicines, insect repellents, sunscreens, perfumes, soaps, fragrances, and lotions. Some PPCPs are EDCs, and could possibly affect the system of glands that produces hormones that help control metabolic activity and development. Use and disposal of these products can lead to the potential release of their constituents to the environment through domestic sewage and other sources.

PPCPs and EDCs have been found in trace levels in ground water and surface water across the country. Numerous research studies have been underway for many years to determine levels of PPCPs and EDCs in various environmental media. Current analytical tools allow for the detection of these compounds down to very low levels such as parts per trillion or less.  

MassDEP Workplan:

  • Foster information exchange through the MassDEP Emerging Contaminants Work Group, which brings together a broad range of cross-program expertise on PPCPs/EDCs.
  • Support research on the removal of PPCP/EDCs by septic systems.
  • Pollution Prevention:  Support pharmaceutical take back programs to reduce environmental releases.
  • Stay current on significant PPCPs/EDCs research.

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