On January 26, 2017, The UNC Coastal Studies Institute (UNC CSI) hosted a lecture on pharmaceuticals and personal care products in coastal waters as part of the “Science on the Sound” lecture series. This series, held monthly, highlights research on coastal topics and issues in northeast North Carolina. In January 2017, the program featured Drs. Sid Mitra and Jamie Dewitt, from the departments of Geological Sciences and Pharmacology and Toxicology at East Carolina University. Their presentation, entitled “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Emerging Pollutants in Coastal Waters”, covered some of their recent research on these relatively new pollutants and their presence in our coastal waters.
Human-derived compounds are part of the environment, including the water that we drink. The presence of these compounds in our drinking water may pose risks to our health. Some compounds are regulated based on their known health risks, but many of the compounds found in our drinking water are unregulated. One class of compounds that is not currently regulated are known as pharmaceutical and personal care product pollutants (PPCPs). These are “emerging contaminants” and are challenging to regulate. While these pollutants occur in very low concentrations in drinking water, their potential health risks at current environmental levels are often under-researched. In the presentation, Drs. Mitra and DeWitt will discussed some of these PPCP compounds and conveyed information about their presence in coastal areas of North Carolina.