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Submitted by Glynn Beck, KY Geological Survey
Over the past decade, surface water sampling conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and others (Hedgespeth and others, 2012) has shown the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment. PPCPs are products used by individuals for personal care or health reasons or used by the agricultural industry to enhance the growth or health of livestock. PPCPs include prescription and over-the counter drugs, veterinary drugs, fragrances, cosmetics, sun-screen products, diagnostic agents, and nutraceuticals (such as vitamins). PPCPs enter our environment through human activity (such as bathing, shaving, using lotion, or taking medication), illicit drug use, veterinary drug use (especially antibiotic and steroid use), the agriculture industry, and residues from pharmaceutical manufacturing and hospital use.
In 1999 and 2000, the USGS sampled 139 streams in 30 states for 95 pharmaceutical and personal care product chemicals. One or more of the chemicals analyzed were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled (Barnes and others, 2002; Buxton and Kolpin, 2002; Kolpin and others, 2002a; Kolpin and others, 2002b). In 2008, the USGS, in cooperation with the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW), sampled 9 selected watersheds in Kentucky for PPCPs. Surface water samples analyzed from seven of the nine watersheds contained one or more pharmaceuticals and antibiotics (Angie Crain, USGS Kentucky Water Science Center, personal communication).
In an effort to further increase our knowledge of the presence of PPCPs in Kentucky’s surface waters, six watersheds were sampled for 17-β Estradiol and Fluoroquinolones. 17-β Estradiol, or estradiol, is a hormone steroid naturally produced by humans and animals. Studies conducted in Europe (Larsson and others, 1999), the United States (Kolpin and others, 2002a) and Canada (Servos and others, 2005) have shown that estradiol is present in surface water. Estradiol is a known endocrine disruptor, which may have a deleterious effect on aquatic wildlife (Purdom and others, 1994; Jobling and others, 1998). Potential sources of estradiol to surface water are effluent from waste water treatment plant (WWTP) outfalls, surface runoff from animal manure amended fields, and effluent from domestic straight pipes.
Fluoroquinolones are a group of broad spectrum antibacterials used to treat humans and animals (Andersson and MacGowan, 2003; McEwen and Fedorka-Cray, 2002). Like estradiol, studies in Europe (Andreozzi and others, 2003) and the United States (Kolpin and others, 2002a) have shown that fluoroquinolones are present in surface water. In 2005, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry production (Nelson and others, 2007). The ban was implemented because of the development of human infections with fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter species associated with the consumption of poultry (Nelson and others, 2007). Currently, the effects of fluoroquinolones, if any, on aquatic wildlife are unknown. Potential sources of fluoroquinolones to surface water are the same as those of estradiol.
Estradiol and fluoroquinolones are not regulated, which means that waste water treatment plants are not required to specifically treat for these compounds. However, the treatment process may inadvertently lower the concentration of these compounds.
In June and July of 2012 (round 1) fifty-six grab samples were collected from the Bayou de Chien, Clarks River, Floyds Fork, South Elkhorn Creek, Banklick Creek, and Licking River watersheds. Of the 56 surface water samples collected, 15 (27 percent) contained estradiol at a concentration greater than the method detection limit of 3.0 parts per trillion, whereas only 5 (9 percent) samples contained fluoroquinolones at a concentration greater than the method detection limit of 0.025 parts per billion. The method detection limit is the lowest detectable concentration of the analytical method used to detect estradiol and fluoroquinolones in the surface water. Five samples containing 17-β Estradiol and 4 samples containing fluoroquinolones were collected downstream, within 200 ft, of a known WWTP outfall.
In order to obtain more statistically significant data, 20 sites within four of the original six watersheds were resampled four times during November and December of 2012 (rounds 2-5). Two sampling sites were within the Bayou de Chien, four within the Clarks River, six within the Floyds Fork, and eight within the South Elkhorn Creek watersheds.
Estradiol and fluoroquinolones concentrations for sampling rounds 2 through 5 ranged from less than the method detection limit (3.0 ppt) to 14.0 parts per trillion and less than the method detection limit to 0.456 parts per billion, respectively. The highest concentrations of both chemicals occurred at sampling sites downstream of WWTP outfalls.
Future research, dependent upon funding, includes sampling additional watersheds across the state and analyzing those samples for specific compounds to determine their exact concentration in surface water. In addition, karst springs need to be sampled and analyzed to determine water quality related to the presence of pharmaceuticals.
Proper disposal of unwanted or unused pharmaceuticals can help safeguard our environment from PPCPs. Take advantage of pharmaceutical take-back programs. Check with local and state law enforcement agencies for specific dates and locations of programs near you. In addition to take-back programs, also check with local and state waste management authorities for household hazardous waste collection programs that accept PPCPs. If no programs are available, contact your county Solid Waste Coordinator for information on proper disposal. And remember, always follow any specific disposal instructions that may be printed on the label or accompany patient information. Never flush unused medications down the toilet or pour them down the sink unless the medication’s label or accompany patient information specifically instructs you to do so.
If there are no take-back or household hazardous waste collection programs available and if the medication label does not have specific disposal instructions then you can take the drugs out of their original container and mix with an undesirable substance, such as kitty litter or coffee grounds. By mixing with an undesirable substance, the medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to individuals who may intentionally go through your trash. Place the items in a sealed bag or empty container with lid to prevent the medication from leaking or spilling out in a garbage bag. In addition, scratch out all identifying information on any prescription labels to protect your identify and personal health information. If you have any questions about proper disposal, contact your pharmacist.
Funding was provided in part by the USDA-NIFA Southern Region Water Program and the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute Student Enhancement Grant (USGS 104B Program).
Andersson, M.I, and MacGowan, A.P., 2003, Development of the quinolones, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, v. 51, Suppl. S1, p. 1-11.
Andreozzi, R., Raffaele, M., and Nicklas, P., 2003, Pharmaceuticals in STP effluents and their solar photodegradation in aquatic environment, Chemosphere, v. 50, p. 1319-1330.
Barnes, K.K., Kolpin, D.W., Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Furlong, E.T., Zaugg, S.D., and Barber, L.B., 2002, Water quality data for pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-94.
Buxton, H.T. and Kolpin, D.W., 2002, Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams: USGS Fact Sheet FS-027-02.
Hedgespeth, M.L., Sapozhnikova, Y., Pennington, P., Clum, A., Fairey, A., and Wirth, E., 2012, Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in treated wastewater discharges into Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, Science of the Total Environment, 437, p. 1-9.
Jobling, S., Nolan, M., Tyler, C.R., Brighty, G., and Sumpter, J.P., 1998, Widespread sexual disruption in wild fish, Environmental Science & Technology, v. 32, no. 17, p. 2498-2506.
Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T, Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., and Buxton, H.T., 2002a. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance. Environ. Sci. Technol. Vol. 36, p. 1202-1211.
Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., and Buxton, H.T., 2002b, Response to comment on “Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance”: Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 36, n. 18, p. 4007-4008.
Larsson, D.G.J., Adolfsson-Erici, M., Parkkonen, J., Pettersson, M., Berg, A.H., Olsson, P.-E., and Förlin, L, 1999, Ethinyloestradiol – an undesired fish contraceptive?, Aquatic Toxicology, v. 45, p. 91-97.
McEwen, S.A., and Fedorka-Cray, P.J., 2002, Antimicrobial use and resistance in animals, Clinical Infectious Diseases, v. 34, Suppl. 3, p. S93-S106.
Nelson, J.M., Chiller, T.M., Powers, J.H., and Angulo, F.J., 2007, Fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter species and the withdrawal of fluoroquinolones from use in poultry: A public health success story, Clinical Infectious Diseases, v. 44, p. 977-980.
Purdom, C.E., Hardiman, P.A., Bye, V.V.J., Eno, N.C., Tyler, C.R., and Sumpter, J.P., 1994, Estrogenic effects of effluents from sewage treatment works, Chemistry and Ecology, v. 8, no. 4, p. 275-285.
Servos, M.R., Bennie, D.T., Burnison, B.K., Jurkovic, A., McInnis, R., Neheli, T., Schnell, A., Seto, P., Smyth, S.A., and Ternes, T.A., 2005, Distribution of estrogens, 17-β estradiol and estrone, in Canadian municipal wastewater treatment plants, Science of the Total Environment, v. 336, p. 155-170.
On September 22, a group of FCS County Agents, Assistant Director of FCS Extension, Ann Vail and I, had an opportunity to take a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Universal Design Living Laboratory (UDLL) in Columbus, Ohio. The UDLL is a national demonstration home and garden built out of the dreams, passions and needs of Dr. Rosemarie Rossetti and husband, Mark Leder. They built and share their home to better help people, including the building industry, better understand how to create a more comfortable living environment that will enhance quality of life.
Photo taken by Mark Leder, UDLL.
In June of 1998, Dr. Rossetti was paralyzed from the waist down when a 3 ½ ton tree crashed down on her while she and Mark were bicycling. After the accident, she and her husband soon realized that their two-story dream home was no longer practical or safe for their needs. After touring model homes across the country, researching universal design principles, and talking with countless builders and corporate sponsors, Dr. Rossetti and Mark set forth to build the UDLL. The ranch-style home highlights the quality of indoor and outdoor lifestyle through universal design features, resource and energy efficient “green building” methods, safety, advanced automation technology, a healthy home construction approach, and design principles of feng shui. As we toured the home, it was apparent that each feature in the house had been carefully thought out in terms of both accessibility and sustainability. According to Dr. Rossetti, “A home is not truly sustainable unless it is accessible.”
The in-counter steamer and pasta cooker (photo above) caught every eye on the tour. This appliance allows you to easily cook pastas, vegetables, fruits, meats, and even desserts like custards and bread and rice puddings. You can fill the appliance with the amount of water needed using the pot filler above the in-counter steamer. The appliance allows you to drain off water by the simple flip of a switch. Photo taken by Sally Mineer, FCS Agent Lewis County.
For more information about the UDLL visit http://www.udll.com/.
For information about helping people of all ages and abilities evaluate and adapt their home to optimize safety and independence, visit the new FCS Home Accessibility series publications:
This series emphasizes ability in light of a disability. Approximately 30% of Kentuckians age five years and older have trouble with mobility, routine daily activities, and self-care due to disabilities (American Community Survey, 2009). The inaccessible features of many homes contribute to the challenges for people to meet daily needs, including bathing, using stairs, and entering/exiting easily. Such barriers can eliminate housing options or trigger an unwanted or premature move to senior housing or institutionalized care, which can limit independence, create emotional upset, and cause financial burden (HousingPolicy.org, 2010). Universal design features, including assistive technology, helps to make homes safer and more user-friendly for all.
Submitted by Glynn Beck, KY Geological Survey
Over the past decade, surface water sampling conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and others (Hedgespeth and others, 2012) has shown the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment. In 1999 and 2000, the USGS sampled 139 streams in 30 states for 95 pharmaceutical and personal care product chemicals. One or more of the chemicals analyzed were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled (Barnes and others, 2002; Buxton and Kolpin, 2002; Kolpin and others, 2002a; Kolpin and others, 2002b). In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey Kentucky Office, in cooperation with the Kentucky Division of Water, sampled 9 selected watersheds for PPCPs. Surface water samples analyzed from 7 of the 9 watersheds contained 1 or more pharmaceuticals and antibiotics (Angie Crain, U.S. Geological Survey Kentucky Office, personal communication). However, in Kentucky, there is a lack of water-quality data related to these emerging contaminants and even less data related to the fate and transport of these contaminants. In an effort to expand our knowledge related to the presence of PPCPs in Kentucky’s surface waters, Glynn Beck with the Kentucky Geological Survey, sampled six watersheds for 17-β Estradiol (steroid hormone) and Fluoroquinolones (antimicrobials). Grab samples were collected from the Bayou de Chein, Clarks River, Floyds Fork, South Elkhorn Creek, Banklick Creek, and Licking River watersheds.
PPCPs typically enter surface water by way of a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) outfall (point source), which is where treated raw water is dumped into a stream. Of the 56 surface water samples collected, 15 (27%) contained 17-β Estradiol at a concentration greater than the method detection limit (MDL) of 3.0 parts per trillion, whereas only 5 (9%) samples contained Fluoroquinolones at a concentration greater than the MDL of 0.025 parts per billion. Five samples containing 17-β Estradiol and 4 samples containing Fluoroquinolones were collected within 200 ft of a known WWTP outfall. The source of 17-β Estradiol and Fluoroquinolones present in samples not associated with known WWTP outfalls is unknown. Additional potential sources of PPCPs to surface waters are surface runoff and untreated sewage (domestic “straight-piping”).
Funding provided in part by the USDA-NIFA Southern Regional Water Program and the USGS State Water Resources Research Institute Program.
Reprinted with permission from Kentucky Association for Environmental Education. Contact Information: Ashley Hoffman (P: 270-214-0587)
The Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE) will host the first Southeast Environmental Education Alliance Conference on September 14 and 15 at Lake Cumberland State Park in Jamestown, KY. The event will include sessions on environmental education in practice, environmental literacy, and the basics of environmental education. There is an entire conference strand filled with family-friendly activities. Presenters represent a diverse set of agencies and organizations from across the southeast.
This year’s keynote speaker is Tim Farmer, host of the television program Kentucky Afield. A life-long Kentuckian, Tim grew up with an appreciation for the outdoors. Despite losing the use of his right arm in a motorcycle accident, Tim continues to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors.
“Connecting people, both children and adults, with the outdoors is an important aspect of environmental education,” says KAEE’s Executive Director, Ashley Hoffman. KAEE was founded in 1976, making it one of the country’s oldest environmental education organizations. Its membership is composed of K-12 teachers, university faculty, and non-formal educators, such as park naturalists. KAEE’s mission is to build a sustainable environment through education.
Though KAEE hosts a conference every year, this is the first time the Southeast Environmental Education Alliance is holding a joint conference. Other states in the alliance include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The full conference program, along with registration information, can be found at kaee.org/conference. Early bird registration ends August 31.
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