EPA announced on August 6 that it is seeking comment on an Information Collection Request (ICR) that will be used in a detailed study of unused pharmaceutical disposal methods by hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices and veterinary hospitals. EPA is seeking more information on the practices of the health care industry to inform future potential regulatory actions, and identify best management and proper disposal practices. This is one of several actions the agency is taking to strengthen its understanding of disposal practices and potential risks from pharmaceuticals in water. The agency is also commissioning the National Academy of Sciences to provide scientific advice on the potential risk to human health from low levels of pharmaceutical residues in drinking water. The National Academy of Sciences will convene a workshop of scientific experts Dec. 11-12, to advise the agency on methods for screening and prioritizing pharmaceuticals to determine potential risk. Other actions the agency is taking include: expanding a recent fish tissue pilot study to sample nationally to determine whether residues from pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) may be present in fish and waterways; developing a methodology to establish water quality criteria to protect aquatic life; and conducting studies to examine the potential occurrence of PPCPs in sewage sludge and wastewater. To facilitate these efforts, the agency has developed state-of-the-art analytical methods capable of detecting various pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones at very low levels. EPA will accept public comments on the Health Care Industry ICR for 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register. More information on EPA’s research and response to PPCPs in the environment is available here.