Pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds in drinking water

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Pharmaceuticals and endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) are a structurally diverse class of organic contaminants that have been detected throughout the world in wastewater, surface water, groundwater, estuarine water, and drinking water (Snyder et al. 1999; Ternes et al. 1999; Heberer 2002. Kolpin et al. 2002; Benottiand Brownswell 2007; Barnes et al. 2008; Benotti et al. 1009a). These compounds include, but are not limited to, prescription pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, naturally occurring compounds that elicit a physiological effect (e.g. estrogens), and compounds used in consumables for the benefit of human health and safet (e.g. benzophenone). The most common route by which these compounds enter the environment is via wastewater, as they are incompletely removed during wastewater treatment (Temes 1998; Snyder et al. 2007). Selected pharmaceuticals and EDCs may also enter the environment via other routes, such as urban or agricultural runoff (Standley et al. 2000). Once in the environment, pharmaceuticals and EDC concentrations attenuate by processes such as dilution, adsorption of solids, microbial degradation, photolysis or other forms of abiotic transformation. For those compounds that are not removed, they can persist in drinking water supplies and ultimately contaminate finished drinking water. This chapter outlines some of the issues associated with the presence of pharmaceuticals and EDCs in drinking water. Specifically, this chapter discusses their occurrence in drinking water and their removal of transformation through different wastewater and drinking water treatment processes.


Chemicals and Drugs | Environmental Engineering | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Sciences | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Water Resource Management


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