[Pharmwaste] Public Health Information from Our Sewers

Ed Gottlieb EGottlieb at cityofithaca.org
Tue May 3 11:08:39 EDT 2016

Link below to a report on research done by Rolf Halden (and others), who maintains the National Sewage Sludge Repository (did you even know there was such a thing?).  He has published nearly 50 papers related to "sewage epidemiology" since 2010!  This is not your typical media story...it is published by the NIH and includes 43 footnotes.

Halden's sludge/influent research covered many topics including: illicit drug metabolites; triclosan and triclocarban; "PPCPs, a laundry list of prescription medications (including antibiotics, antidepressants, and statins), over-the-counter medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen), and surfactants (including alkylphenols and their ethoxylates, and perfluorinated compounds)"; "N-nitrosamines, carcinogens that can arise as by-products of chlorination during wastewater treatment"; and brominated flame retardants.

"The high sensitivity and specificity of liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry means that researchers can conduct an unbiased search for chemicals in sewage sludge that may be present in unusually high amounts. When Halden and Vankatesan did just that, they were able to track 26 chemicals previously unmonitored in U.S. biosolids, as well as identify a variety of potentially problematic chemicals that are produced in high volumes."


Ed Gottlieb
Chair, Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal
Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator
Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
525 3rd Street
Ithaca, NY  14850
(607) 273-8381
fax: (607) 273-8433
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