By Gary Thomas
During the past 20 years, researchers and regulators have been particularly concerned about the potential effects of chemicals used in personal care products and pharmaceuticals, and the possible risks posed by these products to people and the environment.
A major international review, headed by scientists from the University of York, attempted to understand the effects of personal care products like perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, deodorants and toothpastes (PPCPs) and also the impact of pharmaceuticals on the natural ecology.
After using these products, these substances are usually introduced into the sewer system, from where they reach the soils, aquifers and rivers. In fact, numerous PPCPs have been found to be present in the environment throughout the globe. Although the concentration of these substances is low, several people have been concerned that such substances can impact the environment and could also reach into drinking water supplies and this scenario may result from the biological activity of these substances.
Scientists from the Environment Department of the University of York are working with industry, government and academic colleagues in Canada, USA, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina and South Korea and they have found out the major problems related to the impact on environment and human so that future resources will be targeted on primary areas. The study has appeared in Environmental Health Perspectives.
A ‘Top 20’ list of questions has been developed on problems that need to be tackled so as to understand and mitigate the risks posed by PPCPs. These questions fall into seven divisions, such as understanding how PPCPs get into the natural environment; identification of PPCPs and situations that research should be focused on; assessment of effects on organisms; uptake of PPCPs from the environment into organisms; assessment of risks to people and the environment; management of risk; and antibiotic resistance.
According to Professor Alistair Boxall from the University of York, data is now available on the risks posed by PPCPs on the environment and this data will assist in developing potential research programs and policy development.