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Occurrence, Treatment, and Toxicological Relevance of EDCs and Pharmaceuticals in Water

Over the past decade a great amount of interest has arisen regarding the occurrence and fate of trace organic contaminants in the aquatic environment. Of particular concern are human hormones and pharmaceuticals, many of which are ubiquitous contaminants in conventional municipal wastewater treatment plant effluents when measured with ng/L detection limits. As analytical procedures and bioassay techniques become more readily available and increasingly sensitive, new contaminants will be discovered. The presence or absence of any chemical in a wastewater effluent is essentially a function of analytical detection capability. This poses a unique challenge for drinking water treatment plants intent on the removal of organic contaminants, as complete removal is merely a reflection of reporting limits. The investigation described here sought to determine the occurrence, treatment, and human health relevance of a chemically diverse group of emerging contaminants.