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The distinction between source, origin, and fate is often vague. At any point along a pollutant’s environmental transport chain, a variety of different exposure and effects scenarios can come into play. Any point in the chain can be considered to be a source (but not necessarily an origin). , as food for humans or wildlife). ‘‘Sources’’ include routes to and from the end-user. The topic of PPCPs as pollutants is intimately tied to a bewildering array of phenomena that transport and transform these chemicals from one place to another via a multitude of distinct ‘‘routes’’ by which the chemical is emitted, dispersed, or otherwise introduced to the next ‘‘compartment’’ or ultimately to a biological receptor.

These emissions are all subject to existing regulations [49,50]. For more information regarding manufacturing discharges, see EPA [51]. It is worth noting, however, that of the major chemical synthesis industries, the pharmaceutical industry produces the most waste (from by-products, catalysts, solvents, salts, and intermediates) per unit of actual product. The ratio of waste mass produced per unit of API produced ranges roughly from 25 to 100. 01. , the API itself) are many orders of magnitude lower in the pharmaceutical sector, somewhere between 1 and 1000 tons [52], using the E-factor approach adapted from Sheldon.

It is also important for understanding the best approaches for reducing accidental poisonings from stored medications or from those being improperly disposed. In this regard, nation-wide databases, based on geographic information systems, would be invaluable. An ideal system would provide real-time prescription and OTC sales/usage and disposal data. , neither the absolute usage rates for PPCPs nor their geographic variations are available in public databases. Geographic drug usage patterns are partly a function of local prescribing customs, patient preferences and fads, and distribution of disease and illness.

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