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Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams

Ground Water Hydrology

  1. Herbert T. Buxton,
  2. Dana W. Kolpin

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.gw2107

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Buxton, H. T. and Kolpin, D. W. 2005. Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams. Water Encyclopedia. 5:605–608.

Author Information

  1. United States Geological Survey

  1. This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

Abstract

A recent study by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that a broad range of chemicals found in residential, industrial, and agricultural wastewaters commonly occurs in mixtures at low concentrations downstream from areas of intense urbanization and animal production. The chemicals include human and veterinary drugs (including antibiotics), natural and synthetic hormones, detergent metabolites, plasticizers, insecticides, and fire retardants. One or more of these chemicals were found in 80 percent of the streams sampled. Half of the streams contained 7 or more of these chemicals, and about one-third of the streams contained 10 or more of these chemicals. This study is the first national-scale examination of these organic wastewater contaminants in streams and supports the USGS mission to assess the quantity and quality of the Nation's water resources. A more complete analysis of these and other emerging water-quality issues is ongoing.

Keywords:

  • pharmaceuticals;
  • hormones;
  • other wastewater contaminants;
  • steroids;
  • nonprescription drugs;
  • veterinary pharmaceuticals