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Development of an Endocrine Disrupting Compounds Footprint Calculator

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting  162455889.(doi:10.13031/aim.20162455889)
Authors:   Marc Gluberman, Laura Garcia Mandia, Rachel Taylor, Heather E Gall
Keywords:   Education, emerging contaminants, environmental footprint, outreach, water quality.

Abstract. Humans use a large variety of chemicals in personal care products in their everyday lives that become part of the wastewater stream. Wastewater treatment plants were not designed to remove these chemicals, and therefore these products and their metabolites persist in the effluent. These chemicals are then introduced into the environment via wastewater effluent, combined sewer overflow events, land-application of biosolids, and other pathways. Many of these chemicals are known or suspected endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), classified as “emerging contaminants” or “contaminants of emerging concern”, and can cause adverse impacts to aquatic organisms at trace concentrations (μg - ng/L). There are currently no effluent, surface, or drinking water standards for these chemicals, and therefore one of the best ways to reduce their presence in the environment is to reduce their use. The goal of this project was to develop a calculator that the genera public can use to estimate their EDC footprint. This calculator is similar to existing water and carbon footprint calculators. The user inserts the amount of household products they own into three categories; health and beauty, laundry, and cleaning. The Excel-based calculator is programmed with average values of EDCs in each product, and outputs an estimate of the user‘s EDC footprint (mass). This footprint calculator can be used to help educate users about their consumption of EDC-containing products and help them identify ways to reduce their footprint. The calculator was developed entirely by three undergraduate researchers as part of various Summer Undergraduate Research programs at Penn State.

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