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Understanding Sources of Microconstituents and Why We Chose to Use Them

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This plain English presentation will provide information on sources and origins of the grouping of compounds referred to by many as “microconstituents.” It will be based primarily on the Water Environment Federation's Technical Practice Update (TPU) and the CEC Community of Practice, commonly known as “The Sources” white paper, which Mr. Goodman chaired. While many presentations have been made on technical aspects of these compounds, this presentation will feature information that we, as consumers and environmental professionals, may not be conversant in communicating to the public.

The presentation will provide an introduction and review specific examples of microconstituents, their origins, and occurrence in our daily lives. Rather than concentrate on the public fear of unknown human and environmental affects, Don Vandertulip will balance the presentation by illustrating the personal choices we make daily that may expose us to these same microconstituents that we worry about in our water. Recognizing that not all microconstituents are manmade but occur in nature, the presentation will identify common natural sources of microconstituents and identify background levels that likely have been present in our environment.

As an additional communications tool for water and research professionals, improvements in laboratory analytical detection and quantification over the last 100 years and future laboratory capabilities will be examined. Since improved analytical detection will affect the public and consumer “fear factors” in the future, knowledge of the future capability can reduce consumer concerns.

Keywords: Microconstituents; and personal care products; endocrine-disrupting compounds; pharmaceuticals

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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