Emerging Contaminant Threats and the Great Lakes

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Presentation by Lyman Welch for the 2011 Great Lakes Restoration Conference Session titled "Emerging Contaminant Threats and the Great Lakes."

Chemical contaminants form a vast chemical soup in the Great Lakes, and from available data, we know exposure may be cause for concern. This workshop will discuss the threat of “emerging contaminants” in the Lakes, as well as give an overview of research, policy implications and recommendations for moving forward.

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  • Official presentation start slide.
  • Colborn T, vom Saal FS, and Soto AM. 1993. Developmental effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in wildlife and humans. Environmental Health Perspectives 101:378-384.
  • Official presentation end slide, as well as the ballroom slide.
  • Emerging Contaminant Threats and the Great Lakes

    1. 1. <ul><li>Emerging Contaminant Threats and the Great Lakes Woodward Ballroom C Thursday, October 13 11:15-12:15 </li></ul>
    2. 2. Emerging Contaminant Threats and the Great Lakes Lyman C. Welch Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition 7 th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference Detroit, MI October 12-14 , 2011
    3. 3. A Community that Cares for the Great Lakes <ul><li>Individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Elected officials </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers and students </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental advocates </li></ul><ul><li>Policy leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Recreational enthusiasts </li></ul><ul><li>Civic organizations </li></ul><ul><li>The Alliance is the only independent policy organization working solely to improve the Great Lakes every day. </li></ul>Formed in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes is the oldest independent Great Lakes citizens' organization in North America. Our community today includes…
    4. 4. What are emerging contaminants? Sources? Health and environmental impact? What policy implications arise? What tools for control are available? What are the strategies to address emerging contaminant threats? What’s ahead?
    5. 5. What are emerging contaminants? Why should we be concerned? Definitions vary Natural or synthetic Perceived, potential, or real threat to human health or environment Lack of published standards or controls Reasons for alarm Emission and fate unknown Health risks unknown Lack of regulation Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    6. 6. Classes of compounds identified as “emerging contaminants” <ul><li>Pharmaceuticals </li></ul><ul><li>Personal care products </li></ul><ul><li>Pesticides and herbicides </li></ul><ul><li>Haloginated and non-haloginated compounds </li></ul><ul><li>Synthetic fragrances </li></ul><ul><li>Phthalates </li></ul><ul><li>Bisphenol A </li></ul><ul><li>Phytoestrogens </li></ul><ul><li>Nanomaterials </li></ul>Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    7. 7. <ul><li>Drinking water </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Treatment plant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Groundwater </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inhalation or skin exposure from consumer products </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cosmetics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contaminated food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food containers leaching contaminants </li></ul></ul>Exposure pathways Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    8. 8. <ul><li>Wastewater treatment facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants </li></ul><ul><li>Septic fields </li></ul><ul><li>Leaky infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Landfills </li></ul><ul><li>Application of biosolids onto agricultural fields </li></ul><ul><li>General population use </li></ul><ul><li>Air, water transport </li></ul>Multitude of point and diffuse sources Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    9. 9. Public Health and Environmental Threats <ul><li>Endocrine disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Inflammation and cancer </li></ul><ul><li>Pre- and neonatal development risks </li></ul><ul><li>Bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs </li></ul><ul><li>Resistant bacteria </li></ul><ul><li>Low-level chronic exposure </li></ul><ul><li>Synergistic effects of chemical mixtures </li></ul>Limited information on fate, persistence, epidemiological and ecological effects, for mixtures of chemicals and their byproducts Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    10. 10. <ul><li>Pharmaceuticals </li></ul><ul><li>antibiotics, hormones, pain relievers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>0.001 – 0.26ug/L (closer to waste water facilities) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3.3 – 75 ng/g in sediments downstream from storm sewer outfalls) </li></ul></ul>Most prevalent contaminants in the Great Lakes watershed <ul><li>Personal care products </li></ul><ul><li>Insect repellents, antiseptics, cosmetics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DEET 1.1ug/L </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Triclosan 34 ng/L </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Musks 4.7ng/L in open waters, 41 ng/g in tributaries, 1 ug/g in fish (dry weight) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industrial products </li></ul><ul><li>surfactants, coatings, flame retardants, plasticizers, pesticides, herbicides </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfluorinated acids 11 – 162 ng/L </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50-460ng/g in biota indicating bioaccumulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chlorinated paraffins 7.3 – 410ng/g in harbor sediments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5000ng/g in biota </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phthalates 20ug/L (exceeds guidelines), 4030 – 29700ng/g in sediment (exceeds international standards) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bisphenol A 0.8ug/L, 6.1ng/g in sediments, 20 – 60 ng/g in sediments in tributaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glyphosate (pesticide) 0.08 ug/L – 40ug/L varies with season, exceed standards for urban, suburban and agricultural systems </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Policy Implications <ul><li>Safe Drinking Water Act – some emerging contaminants are included on the Contaminant Candidate List, but no new regulations have been added </li></ul><ul><li>Clean Water Act – potential for regulation under provisions for state water quality standards and disposal of sewage sludge from waste water facilities </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Food and Drug Administration – requires environmental assessment of drugs that are expected to exceed 1 ppb in aquatic environments and have shown toxicity, regulates disposal of drug products </li></ul>Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    12. 12. <ul><li>Petitions to EPA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To include endocrine disrupting chemicals in the new water quality standards – not responded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To ban Triclosan – 60 day public comment period Jan-Feb 2011, under review </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Petition to FDA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To challenge the 1 ppb exclusion rule – under review </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ban due to international restrictions/public scrutiny </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase out of flame retardant, decabromodiphenyl ether </li></ul></ul>Litigation and other Regulatory Pathways Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    13. 13. <ul><li>Future tools for control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New water treatment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ end of pipe” solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unknown environmental impact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in industrial behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chemical life cycle analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enforcement difficult </li></ul></ul>Controlling sources of emerging contaminants <ul><li>Issues with current control methods </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take-back programs address a small fraction of released drugs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Removal efficiencies vary greatly among wastewater treatment methods and contaminants </li></ul></ul>Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan Contaminant Activated sludge Cl disin-fection UV disin-fection Bisphenol A 78 72 85 DEET 54 23 64 Sulfamethoxazole 58 73 33
    14. 14. Action Plan <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National, multi-agency program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment of fate, exposure, and health risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritization of chemicals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development of new treatment strategies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research, evaluation, and standardization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Change in production and consumption behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decrease in use, public awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policy reform and regulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Effective and realistic risk assessment for new chemicals and emerging contaminants </li></ul></ul>Emerging contaminants Sources Health and environmental impact Policy implications Control Tools Action Plan
    15. 15. We gratefully acknowledge the support of: The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust
    16. 16. Contact Us Email us: LWelch @greatlakes.org Call us: 1-312-939-0838 Fan us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Photo by David Riecks
    17. 17. <ul><li>Spread the word! </li></ul><ul><li>Wireless password: HOW11 </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Conference website: Conference.healthylakes.org </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Email us photos, comments, tweets or video & we will post online: healthylakes@gmail.com </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>On Twitter? Use the hashtag: #healthylakes </li></ul>

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