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In September, 2009 the EPA released its third update to the “contaminant candidate list” (CCL 3).  This is a list of substances which are not currently regulated in drinking water by the federal government but may be considered for future regulation.

The EPA and other stakeholders looked at 7,500 substances before coming up with the final list of 116 contaminants. After the EPA drew up a preliminary list, it added 10 pharmaceuticals, 1 antibiotic and 9 hormones, 2 disinfection byproducts, 5 microbes and firefighting foam.  The full CCL 3 list of contaminants can be found at this EPA Web site: www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl

Many of these substances that appeared on CCL 1 in 1998 have been “rolled over” into CCL 2 and now CCL 3 — an indication that they’re still considered potentially harmful. Examples of some that appear on the new CCL 3 and were also on prior lists are adenoviruses (viruses that can cause respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses), acetochlor (a weed-control herbicide), vanadium (a natural element), and cyanotoxins (produced by blue-green algae).

The Water Quality Association (WQA) recently proposed that removal/reduction of the following 17 substances, some of which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, pharmaceuticals, or personal care products, could be priorities for developing new NSF/ANSI performance standards for drinking water treatment units. None of these are now regulated:

Atenolol: Beta blocker (heart) medication

Bisphenol A (BPA): Ingredient in plastic/EDC

Carbamazepine: Anti-seizure medication

DEET: Insecticide

Diazinon: Insecticide/EDC

Estrone: Steroid (estrogen hormone)

Ibuprofin: Pain medication

Linuron: Herbicide/EDC

Meprobamate: Anti-anxiety medication

Metolachlor: Pesticide

Naproxen: Pain medication

Nonyl phenol: Surfactant (cleaning compound)/EDC

Phenytoin: Anti-convulsant medication

Risperidone: Schizophrenia treatment

TCEP: Flame retardant

TCPP: Flame retardant

Trimethoprim: Antibiotic

Future Role of the Water Treatment Industry
The water treatment industry “can offer the most advanced technologies available for dealing with endocrine-disrupting, pharmaceutical and personal care product residues in drinking water,” says Joe Harrison, technical director of the Water Quality Association (WQA). “We welcome the EPA benchmarks to guide our product development and performances in this new emerging area.”

Harrison says there’s no single POU/POE technology that can address all emerging contaminants. He says, “It appears that reverse osmosis (RO), activated carbon blocks, and advanced oxidation, such as is achieved by combining in various degrees hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet light and/or ozone … may show effectiveness in treating many of these.”

Premier Water Technology has been dealing with problem water applications since 1978.  As water quality continues to change, we are prepared to face the new challenges that lie ahead.  We have a proven track record with known contaminants like Arsenic and Coliform Bacteria.  It’s strange to think we will someday offer water treatment solutions for anxiety medications, hormones, and flame retardants.

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