Survey of “emerging contaminants” in U.S. streams indicates need for further research



The first nationwide reconnaissance of pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants (OWCs) in U.S. streams has found one or more targeted compounds in 80% of the streams sampled. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study, released on 13 March, detected 82 of 95 specific compounds in the 139 streams sampled.

Herbert Buxton, coordinator of the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, which conducted the study, said, “This is the first hard environmental occurrence information on a large number of environmental compounds on which we did not have information before.” Buxton said the findings may aid research on potential human and ecological effects from these compounds and on understanding in what concentrations the compounds occur individually and in combinations.