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NCCEH Student Project Award 2014 - S Lam

Health Effects of Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply: A Knowledge Synthesis

S Lam
University of Guelph: Master of Public Health

  • Pharmaceuticals are chemicals found in prescription medicine, over-the-counter drugs and veterinary drugs
  • Trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are found in drinking water in the low ng/L range
  • Conventional drinking water treatment processes are not able to remove pharmaceuticals to non-detectable levels
  • The most frequently detected pharmaceuticals in drinking water include carbamazepine, ibuprofen and gemfibrozil
  • The current level of exposure to pharmaceuticals in drinking water is unlikely to have an adverse health effect
  • The impact of chronic low level exposures to individual and mixture of pharmaceutical substances on human health is poorly known