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Published on January 14, 2008

Author: Paola

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CONTAMINANTS OF EMERGING CONCERN: ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS:  CONTAMINANTS OF EMERGING CONCERN: ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS Presentation to COG Chief Administrative Officers Committee August 1, 2007 Tanya T. Spano Dept. of Environmental Programs Overview:  Overview Background Local Focus on EDCs COG Board Direction Summary of Research What? / Why? / Where? / How? Key Findings / Technical Efforts Policy Guidance / Potential Actions Recommendations & Next Steps Local Focus on EDCs:  Local Focus on EDCs USGS Report (2006) ‘Intersex fish’ found in Potomac River Endocrine disruptors identified as likely cause Washington Post articles (Sept. 3, 6, & 26, 2006) ‘Intersex fish’ & EDCs in Potomac River House Govt. Reform Committee Hearing on ‘intersex fish’ (Oct. 4, 2006) Congressman Tom Davis, Chair Speakers: EPA, USGS, Fairfax Water, WSSC, Washington Aqueduct, ICPRB, Potomac Riverkeepers, NRDC COG Board Briefing on ‘intersex fish’ (Oct. 11, 2006) Speakers: EPA and American Water Works Association Adopted Resolution R46-06 COG Board Direction:  COG Board Direction Resolution charged the CBPC to: Work with key stakeholders to assess EDCs & other Compounds of Emerging Concern re: Public health and Environmental concerns Present joint findings & recommendations to COG Board to include: Existing data on water quality & environmental effects Potential solutions to reduce concentrations What Are Endocrine Disruptors?:  What Are Endocrine Disruptors? Part of larger category of Compounds of Emerging Concern (CECs) Substances: Known or suspected to inhibit or disrupt the function of endocrine systems* of humans & animals That can produce impacts at extremely low levels (many only recently detectable) * Endocrine systems control or regulate many biological processes (e.g., development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, etc.) Detected in humans, animals & the environment - at increased levels Ubiquitous – nationally & globally Includes synthetic & naturally-occurring synthetic substances Congressional Briefing (3/23/07) EPA, Office of Science & Technology:  Congressional Briefing (3/23/07) EPA, Office of Science & Technology Nanomaterials – Microscopic scale materials to control/manipulate matter at an atomic scale (i.e., at one billionth of a meter or nanometer). PFOA – Perfluorooctanoic Acid, a synthetic (man-made) chemical used in industrial/commercial products (e.g., non-stick cookware, breathable all-weather clothing). PPCPs – Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products, used in veterinary medicine, agricultural practice, and human health and cosmetic care. PBDEs – Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, a group of brominated flame retardant chemicals used in manufactured products (e.g., foam cushions; plastics in televisions & computers) to slow the ignition/rate of fire growth. Prions – Microscopic particles made of protein that can cause disease (e.g., Chronic Wasting Disease in cows). Why Is There Concern?:  Why Is There Concern? Known & Potential Environmental Impacts: Abnormal sexual functions of fish, frogs, mollusks, etc. (e.g., intersex fish, decreased fertility, etc.) Fish lesions (perhaps due to compromised immune systems) Potential Human Health Impacts: Behavioral changes, cancers, Type II diabetes, fertility declines, compromised immunity, neurological effects, etc. Intergenerational/heritable implications Developmental impacts greatest on vulnerable population groups Substances exhibit endocrine disrupting impacts well below toxic or neurological levels What Are the Sources?:  What Are the Sources? Naturally-occurring: Human, animal, fungus & plant hormones Caffeine What Are the Sources?:  What Are the Sources? Synthetic (man-made): Pesticides & Herbicides & Insecticides (commercial & home) PCBs & Dioxins, Cadmium & Lead Plastic Products (e.g., electronics, food containers, toys, household products, packaging, etc.) Personal Care Products (e.g., cosmetics, perfumes, shampoos, soap, detergents, insect repellants, anti-microbials) Pharmaceuticals (e.g., antibiotics and hormones – for humans & animals; medicines – prescription, over-the counter & illegal) Others (e.g., fire retardants, rocket fuel, diesel fuel, animal feed additives) How Are Humans/the Environment Exposed?:  How Are Humans/the Environment Exposed? Human (via direct consumption, inhalation, and/or absorption) Food (primarily high-fat dairy & animal products) Medicines / Hormones Emissions from products (i.e., from electronics, carpeting, textiles, plastic liners & containers for food, etc.) Drinking water How Are Humans/the Environment Exposed?:  How Are Humans/the Environment Exposed? Environmental (i.e., direct & indirect points of release) Aquaculture / animal feedlots Biosolids & animal manure runoff Wastewater plant effluents / septic systems Stormwater runoff / Sediments Air transport Key Findings:  Key Findings National & international (e.g., European Union) issue Organizations studying & conducting research (USGS, EPA, FDA, CDC, World Health Organization, National Academy of Sciences, American Water Works Association & Water Environment Federation – and associated research foundations) Regulatory efforts & Precautionary Principles Much information still preliminary Many info. gaps & uncertainties Human Health ‘Risk’ (actual & relative) not well defined Very technical topic with public concerns & perceptions of risk Progress re: ‘cause and effect’ & risk is slow Scope of issue much broader than anticipated Sources & concerns exist beyond drinking water & wastewater – food & indoor air Requires broad stakeholder input/public policy issues Policy & Technical Efforts (examples):  Policy & Technical Efforts (examples) EPA: Research – Field detection & Laboratory methods “Do Not Flush” policy Drug Take-back Pilot Studies Universal Waste Rule Potentially develop drinking/water quality standards Water & Wastewater Research Organizations: Stormwater/wastewater/biosolids/stormwater testing Risk assessments / risk communication Water quality modeling – fate & transport studies Drinking water, wastewater & biosolids treatment technologies Develop test/detection methodologies Policy Guidance (Chesapeake Bay & Water Resources Policy and Health Directors’ Committees):  Policy Guidance (Chesapeake Bay & Water Resources Policy and Health Directors’ Committees) Appropriate COG Role (given scope of issue): Identify who’s responsible (federal/state level) Report on what is being done / by whom Involve & integrate human health issues Public Health & Environmental Health officials Get stakeholder input (e.g., indoor air, solids waste, etc.) Identify research needs / advocate funding Monitor / provide periodic updates Rely on Experts to Characterize ‘Risk’ Urge caution - monitor & learn first Need for balance given other environmental & public health issues Potential Actions:  Potential Actions Advocate for: Additional Research EPA initial screening list (F.R. 6/18/07) Additional Monitoring Various localities (local & national) Development of Risk Assessment/Communication tools Bans – of most acute items Sierra Club & Others’ petition to EPA (6/5/07) Investigate existing programs (e.g., Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles) for local applicability: Drug Take-back programs ‘Do Not Flush’ programs Apply for federal grants to develop pilot studies Recommendations & Next Steps:  Recommendations & Next Steps Continue stakeholder consultation & share findings: (e.g., Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership, Northern Area Region Environmental Health Directors, etc.) Joint presentation to COG’s Chesapeake Bay & Water Resources Policy and Health Directors Committees Update on European Union’s efforts & programs Rationale for application of ‘Precautionary Principle’ Hold/co-sponsor technical workshops/forums (e.g., 2006 & 2008 events) Recommendations & Next Steps:  Recommendations & Next Steps COG Board policy briefing (fall 2007) Summary report Outline research and key findings Define an appropriate COG role Assessment versus definitive ‘solutions’ Recommended actions Identify additional efforts over next year Technical background report Update to COG Board (summer 2008) Include feedback from proposed ‘Water Quality & Future Challenges’ forum & ongoing research/regulatory action Wrap-Up:  Wrap-Up Questions? Further Information: Tanya T. Spano (202) 962-3776 tspano@mwcog.org Thanks to many COG staff & others

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