Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants (PPCPs) refers, in general, to any product used by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons or used by agribusiness to enhance growth or health of livestock. PPCPs comprise a diverse collection of thousands of chemical substances, including prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs, veterinary drugs, fragrances, and cosmetics.
Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation's waterbodies. Further research suggests that certain drugs may cause ecological harm. The EPA is committed to investigating this topic and developing strategies to help protect the health of both the environment and the public. To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment.
- Federal Government Guidelines on Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs (pdf, 1pp, 95KB, About PDF)
- Office of Water PPCP Information - analytical methods, proper medicine disposal, biosolids, fish tissues, and more.
- Contact list of Scientists (PDF) (2pp, 16KB, About PDF)
- Contacts in your Regional EPA and HQs
- Office of Research and Development's Water Quality Multi-year Plan
PPCPs have probably been present in water and the environment for as long as humans have been using them. The drugs that we take are not entirely absorbed by our bodies, and are excreted and passed into wastewater and surface water. With advances in technology that improved the ability to detect and quantify these chemicals, we can now begin to identify what effects, if any, these chemicals have on human and environmental health.
This site is dedicated to the scientific issues associated with the occurrence of PPCPs in the environment.