Compounds of Emerging Concern: An Evolving Water Quality Issue
Friday, March 23, 2007
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
2253 Rayburn House Office Building
Scientific research indicates that the production, use, and disposal
of numerous substances that offer improvements in industry,
agriculture, medical treatment, and common household conveniences may
have potentially adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Present in the environment at low levels, these compounds of emerging
concern (CEC) have recently been the focus of media attention and
public concern. This briefing is an opportunity to learn more about
this evolving and challenging water quality issue from scientists
working at the forefront of the topic.
Only recently have researchers created analytical tools to detect
CECs at very low levels, and there is a lack of knowledge regarding the
occurrence, possible impacts, and levels of exposure that may affect
the health of humans and wildlife. Over the last decade, research has
expanded our understanding of the issue, but more is needed. Research
and assessments by the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program help to
determine the occurrence, sources, transport, and exposure effects of
these substances. In addition to presenting USGS findings, speakers at
the briefing helped to explain this complex issue and provided
information on related scientific, voluntary, and regulatory
Dr. Jeff Armstrong, Senior Scientist, Orange County Sanitation District: Concepts to define CECs, sources in the environment, and why the issues are so complex.
Dana Kolpin, Emerging Contaminants Investigations Chief, USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program: USGS findings on CECs, evidence of environmental impacts, and research needs.
Dr. Ed Ohanian, Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water, U.S. EPA:
Voluntary efforts to reduce CECs in the environment, the regulatory
framework related to CECs, and EPA’s plans and activities.
briefing was moderated by Rebecca West, WEF Vice President and Director
of Technical Services, Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District
The briefing was sponsored by the Water Environment Federation in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey.