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An Informatic Approach To Estimating Ecological Risks Posed By Pharmaceutical Use

Project Purpose:
Use informatic tools and approaches to answer the question: which drugs are likely to have detrimental effects at environmental concentrations? There are >2000 drugs approved for use in the US with little/no concentration or eco tox data for the vast majority. Chemical analysis and chronic eco toxicity testing are too expensive to perform on all of them. As a result, we need a rational way to 'triage' drugs for chemical monitoring, toxicity testing, and assessment of effectiveness of mitigation strategies.

Project Description(s):
EPA has developed a method for estimating ecological impacts of prescription drug use based on information from regulatory filings and scientific literature. Data on use, biotransformation, and chemical properties were used to estimate maximum likely environmental concentrations. Known potencies were used to estimate the level of risk to humans and other organisms. Mechanisms of action were considered together with phylogenetic analysis to estimate the range of taxa potentially sensitive to each drug. Scores produced by this procedure were used to prioritize 65 pharmaceuticals for more detailed analytical and toxicological follow-up.

Project Outcomes:
Presentations have been made to EPA program office - OW, Regional Workgroup on PiE, 3 professional meetings, SETAC Europe and two SETAC NA. The list of 65 pharmaceuticals that have been identified has be provide to USGS to include in their monitoring programs, to the National Risk Management Research Laboratory to include in their WWTP evaluations and to a newly hired Analytical Chemist to develop water, sediment and tissue LC MS/MS methods. An MS is in preparation and will be submitted by the end of the year.

Mitchell Kostich at kostich.mitchell@epa.gov

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