We recently discussed the removal of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API’s) and emerging contaminants (EC’s) in the environment – see Removal of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients from Water . Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) is another category of compounds whose presence in the environment is a source of concern.
Definitions of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, Emerging Contaminants & Endocrine Disrupting Compounds
All drugs are made up of two core components — the active pharmaceutical ingredient or API which is the central ingredient, and an excipient. The latter material is typically a chemically inactive substance, such as lactose or mineral oil and its role is to help deliver the medication to recipient’s system. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) component is the part of any drug that produces the intended effects. Some drugs, such as combination therapies, have multiple active ingredients to treat different symptoms or act in different ways. Removal of active pharmaceutical ingredients is a key function of an industrial wastewater treatment facility in order to avoid the discharge of these materials into the environment.
Emerging contaminants are defined as chemicals that are not currently (or have been only recently) regulated and about which there exist concerns regarding their impact on human or ecological health. The term can refer to many different kinds of chemicals, including disinfection by-products i.e. household cleaning products, pharmaceutical and personal care products, persistent organic chemicals, and mercury etc. as well as their degradation products among others. A number of the emerging contaminants associated with having a harmful effect on the endocrine system have been recognized as endocrine disrupting chemicals.
The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete hormones in the body. When functioning normally, the endocrine system works with other systems to regulate the body’s healthy development and function throughout life. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals mimic, block, or interfere with normal functioning of hormones in the body’s endocrine system and prevent the interconnected hormone system from functioning normally in both humans and animals. These endocrine active chemicals, or EACs, do not usually exhibit acute toxicity at the levels normally found in the environment, but instead can alter the normal functioning and growth of the exposed organism at very low concentrations (Streets et al. 2008). Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are commonly found at low concentrations in wastewater streams and can prove difficult to remove due as such.
Although conventional wastewater treatment processes partly remove API’s, EC’s and EDCs, residual levels can remain in the effluent stream. At Coftec, we work with a number of technology vendors including Arvia Technology Ltd who have developed the Nyex Rosalox™ water treatment system. The Nyex Rosalox™ water treatment system provides targeted removal of organic pollutants from mg/L to ppb ranges using a combination of adsorption and oxidation. The benefits of Nyex Rosalox™ are discussed in the video below.
Nyex Rosalox™ can act as a tertiary polishing step before the treated water is released to the environment. The Coftec in-house design team can incorporate this technology as retrofit or build into new wastewater treatment infrastructure as the tertiary treatment step to deal with recalcitrant organics from your manufacturing process and in particular, the removal of active pharmaceutical ingredients from your wastewater stream.
Contact Coftec whether designing a new facility or refurbishing, expanding, or bringing an existing facility up to regulatory standards and let’s discuss how we can help in your project.
To know more, Contact us at email@example.com, tel: +353 (0)91 844356 or via a website inquiry.
Streets, S., M. Ferrey, L. Solem, A. Preimesberger, and P. Hoff. 2008. Endocrine Disrupting Compounds: A Report to the Minnesota Legislature. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.