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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 12016

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Daughton CG, Ternes TA.
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment: agents of subtle change?
Environ Health Perspect 1999 Dec; 107:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1566206


Abstract:

During the last three decades, the impact of chemical pollution has focused almost exclusively on the conventional “priority” pollutants, especially those acutely toxic/carcinogenic pesticides and industrial intermediates displaying persistence in the environment. This spectrum of chemicals, however, is only one piece of the larger puzzle in “holistic” risk assessment. Another diverse group of bioactive chemicals receiving comparatively little attention as potential environmental pollutants includes the pharmaceuticals and active ingredients in personal care products (in this review collectively termed PPCPs), both human and veterinary, including not just prescription drugs and biologics, but also diagnostic agents, “nutraceuticals,” fragrances, sun-screen agents, and numerous others. These compounds and their bioactive metabolites can be continually introduced to the aquatic environment as complex mixtures via a number of routes but primarily by both untreated and treated sewage. Aquatic pollution is particularly troublesome because aquatic organisms are captive to continual life-cycle, multigenerational exposure. The possibility for continual but undetectable or unnoticed effects on aquatic organisms is particularly worrisome because effects could accumulate so slowly that major change goes undetected until the cumulative level of these effects finally cascades to irreversible change—change that would otherwise be attributed to natural adaptation or ecologic succession. As opposed to the conventional, persistent priority pollutants, PPCPs need not be persistent if they are continually introduced to surface waters, even at low parts-per-trillion/parts-per-billion concentrations (ng-microg/L). Even though some PPCPs are extremely persistent and introduced to the environment in very high quantities and perhaps have already gained ubiquity worldwide, others could act as if they were persistent, simply because their continual infusion into the aquatic environment serves to sustain perpetual life-cycle exposures for aquatic organisms. This review attempts to synthesize the literature on environmental origin, distribution/occurrence, and effects and to catalyze a more focused discussion in the environmental science community.

Keywords:
Publication Types: Review MeSH Terms: Cosmetics/adverse effects* Environmental Exposure* Environmental Pollutants/adverse effects Environmental Pollutants/analysis Humans Pharmaceutical Preparations/adverse effects* Public Health* Risk Assessment/methods* Substances: Cosmetics Environmental Pollutants Pharmaceutical Preparations


Notes:

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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909