Water: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group Regarding Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water
A World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water has received world-wide attention in the last few years. The presence of pharmaceuticals in source and finished drinking water has generated concern among governments/regulators, member states, industry, municipalities, and the public. An increase in the use of pharmaceuticals is anticipated as the world population gets older. Also, there is an expected increase in the use of veterinary and agricultural drugs worldwide. There are a number of critical issues regarding the occurrence, human health effects, and treatment and disposal options for pharmaceuticals in the environment, drinking water, and wastewater treatment systems.
The Working Group consisted of scientists from Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Tanzania, Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, and the United States. They have addressed:
- environmental occurrence and sources of pharmaceuticals in finished drinking water and source water;
- approaches to assess health risks to vulnerable populations;
- environmental chemistry of pharmaceuticals in natural waters;
- advances in treatment methods and analytical methods, including treatment effectiveness;
- availability of data and information to assess risks to human health; and
- existing pharmaceutical take-back and safe disposal programs to reduce water pollution.
As a member of the WHO Working Group, Dr. Edward Ohanian, EPA Office of Water, was instrumental in the development and launching of the 4