Scientific advances in pharmaceutical therapies and the growing availability of pharmaceutical drugs has done much to improve the overall health of the world’s population. But the widespread use of pharmaceuticals and other personal care products has increased concerns about concentrations of these substances throughout the water cycle, including surface and ground waters, wastewater, and drinking water. Despite seemingly small concentrations, the presence of pharmaceuticals in drinking water has raised concerns about the potential risks to human health from exposure to water-borne pharmaceuticals.
This UL white paper provides an overview of the issues related to the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in drinking water. The paper discusses the possible effects of PPCPs on humans and on the environment and summarizes recent research conducted by U.S. government agencies, UL and others on PPCP concentrations found in public drinking water supplies and wastewater facilities. The white paper also discusses available water treatment options for reducing PPCP concentrations and their relative effectiveness. The paper concludes with areas for further research and a preview of possible future regulatory actions.