Endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals: Implications for water sustainability

Shane A. Snyder, Mark J. Benotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The presence of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the environment raises many questions about risk to the environment and risk to human health. Researchers have attributed adverse ecological effect effects to the presence of these compounds, particularly EDCs, though there is no consensus on what risk, if any, these compounds pose to human health. The scientific community is in the process of developing a better understanding of the occurrence, fate, and transport of pharmaceuticals and EDCs in the environment, including a better characterization of human exposure via drinking water. This paper provides a brief review of pharmaceuticals and EDCs in drinking water, as well as uses examples from Lake Mead, Nevada, USA, to highlight the issues associated with their fate and transport. Lastly, the effects of natural or anthropogenically driven processes, like natural seasonal flow or climatechange/prolonged drought are discussed as they are factors which can drastically alter environmental concentrations of these compounds. Without question, the propensity for the contamination of fresh water will rise as (1) human population continues to grow or (2) patterns of natural surface water slow and wastewater becomes a larger fraction of flow further highlighting the need for a more comprehensive understanding of their environmental behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Drinking water quality
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Environmental impacts
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Potable water
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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