The International Joint Commission releases a new report on the health of the Great Lakes. Excerpts from the report:
Noting that the focus of environmental monitoring has recently “shifted to an array of recently discovered compounds known as ‘chemicals of emerging concern’,” the report states that CECs are “found in products used daily in households, businesses, agriculture and industry, such as flame retardants, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and pesticides.”
To determine how well wastewater treatment plants on the Great Lakes are handling CECs, IJC conducted a study from 2009 to 2011 of their operations and of the effectiveness of various wastewater treatment technologies at removing 42 specific CECs.
The study found that six chemicals (an herbicide, an anti-seizure drug, two antibiotics, an antibacterial drug and an anti-inflammatory drug) were detected frequently and had a low rate of removal in treated effluent, while five more had a low rate of removal, but not frequent detection. The main finding was that “at least half of the 42 substances examined…are likely to be removed in municipal wastewater treatment plants.”