Federal Agencies to Address Issue of Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water

Agencies to share scientific data and information and coordinate potential future research

Pharmaceuticals Personal Care Products EPA

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are being discovered in U.S. waters at low concentrations. Pharmaceuticals refer to prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs and veterinary drugs. Personal care products refer to products used for personal and cosmetic reasons, such as soaps, fragrances and cosmetics.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have agreed to improve coordination and collaboration on issues related to pharmaceuticals in drinking water through a new memorandum of understanding.

Under this agreement, federal agencies will share scientific data and information and coordinate potential future research on the presence of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, their sources and potential health effects. The agencies formulated the agreement in response to a recommendation by the Government Accountability Office in 2011.

The agencies are responding to the issues of PPCPs in water with a four-pronged strategy aimed at:

  • Improving science;
  • Improving public understanding;
  • Identifying partnership and stewardship opportunities; and
  • Taking regulatory action when appropriate.

Click here for more information on the agreement.


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