EPA digs deeper on cosmetics pollution

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Substances control act Cosmetics

The US Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its fish tissues pilot study to determine the effects that personal care products have on American waterways.

The study, which will also takes into account the effects of pharmaceutical products, aims to provide scientific advice on the potential risk to human health from residues in fish tissues.

In turn the EPA says it will try to develop a methodology to establish water quality criteria aimed at protecting aquatic life as well as conducting studies to determine the amount of residues in sewage sludge and wastewater.

EPA hones analytical methods

The EPA says that the evolution of the long-term study has also led to the development of state-of-the-art analytical methods that can detect steroids and hormones related to pharmaceutical and personal care products.

The EPA is also launching a study to determine the effects of pharmaceutical pollution from hospitals on American waterways, as well as participating in an international effort with the World Health Organization to assess pharmaceuticals as environmental contaminants.

The EPA studies have been triggered by lobbying from environmental and interest groups who have been trying to draw attention to concerns over such pollution for a number of years now.

Hormone disrupting substances

Recently a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG ) claimed that 95 percent of the waterways in the San Francisco Bay area are contaminated with hormone disrupting substances that can be traced to personal care products.

The results of the report state that 18 out of the 19 wastewater samples that were examined contained trace levels of at least one of the three substances concerned - phthalates, bisphenol A and triclosan.

The EWG notes that these chemicals are unregulated coming under the Toxic Substances Control Act passed in 1976.

The EWG has subsequently demanded a consumer boycott of all cosmetic products that contain this type of hormone disrupting substance,

Related topics Formulation & Science

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