State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010IN242B
Title: A First Assessment of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Middle Wabash River, Indiana
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 4
Focus Categories: Agriculture, Ecology, Education
Keywords: Antibiotics, Ethynil estradiol, Fluoxetine, Pharmaceuticals, Triclosan, Tylosin, Wabash
Principal Investigator: Sepulveda, Marisol
Federal Funds: $ 13,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 25,859
Abstract: Measureable quantities of numerous pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have been found downstream of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and animal farms across the U.S. Because they were synthesized to combat specific human diseases, they tend to target specific tissues at very low doses. At the parts-per-billion and parts-per-trillion levels, they can affect reproduction, embryo development, and behavior of fish and other aquatic organisms. The Wabash River is one of the largest rivers in the Midwestern U.S. and of great ecological and economical importance. Despite the clear evidence of the potential impact of PPCPs to aquatic communities and their likely presence in the Wabash River watershed, no data is currently available on these chemicals in this region. Our objectives are to: (1) quantify water concentrations of environmentally relevant PPCPs in three Middle Wabash River sites that represent different degrees of WWTP effluent contamination; (2) based on this data, chose the PPCP that has a high likelihood of being present in fish and quantify its presence in fish tissues (fillets from creek chubs); and (3) educate local communities about the human and ecological health implications of our findings. Using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs) we will quantify concentrations of an antimicrobial (Triclosan), a synthetic estrogen (Ethynil Estradiol), and antidepressant (Fluoxetine), and an antibiotic (Tylosin). Results from the proposed study will benefit the state of Indiana by: 1) providing data on PPCPs in the environment which could be used to prioritize which compounds may be of greatest threat to both aquatic communities and human health and in need of monitoring and regulation; 2) providing data on exposure of fish to PPCPs for future use in ecological and human risk assessments; and 3) informing the public about the issue of PPCPs in the environment and ways to decrease their release to the environment.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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