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Medicines, caffeine and antibacterial soap among contaminants found in American streams

compounds, the researchers found 82 of them in at least one stream. And in 35 percent of streams, the scientists found 10 or more compounds. In one stream, they found 38 chemicals. The scientists expected to find most of the compounds, but the prevalence of mixtures was a bit surprising, says Kolpin.

Since this was the first attempt to survey most of these compounds the researchers tried to pick streams most likely to show some contamination. Most are downstream from wastewater treatment plants or intense livestock activity. Only a few are from less developed, more pristine areas.

For most of the chemicals, drinking water standards, human health advisory recommendations or criteria to protect aquatic life do not exist. Measured concentrations of compounds that do have standards rarely exceeded them. When toxicity is taken into account, the measured concentrations of reproductive hormones may have implications for the health of aquatic organisms, according to Kolpin and his colleagues.


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Contact: Beverly Hassell
b_hassell@acs.org
202-872-4065
American Chemical Society
13-Mar-2002


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