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Contaminants of emerging concern is a term used by water quality professionals to describe pollutants that have been detected in water bodies, that may cause ecological or human health impacts, and typically are not regulated under current environmental laws. Sources of these pollutants include agriculture, urban runoff and ordinary household products and pharmaceuticals that are disposed to sewage treatment plants and subsequently discharged to surface waters.
PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemical components, which break down very slowly over time. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
As a byproduct of the ethoxylation process, a route to some ingredients found in cleansing and moisturizing products, dioxane can contaminate cosmetics and personal care products, such as deodorants, perfumes, shampoos, toothpastes, and mouth washes. The ethoxylation process makes the cleansing agents less abrasive and offers enhanced foaming characteristics. 1,4-Dioxane is found in small amounts in some cosmetics, a yet unregulated substance used in cosmetics in both China and the U.S.
Although many states have instituted laws dealing with emerging contaminants, West Virginia currently has no laws. If West Virginia does start talking about making laws on emerging contaminants, make sure to contact your representative. As a water and/or wastewater system, we need to have a voice in this issue.
If you would like to get more information on emerging contaminants, attend one of WVRWA's classes on the subject. Classes will be held 5 times in 2022 in different areas of the state. Refer to the Training section for locations and dates. Please join us for one of these 6-hour sessions to learn more about potential concerns for the water and wastewater industry.