Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDC) Footprint Calculator
Humans use a large variety of chemicals in their everyday lives, including over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and personal care products, which 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 during combined sewer overflow events, wastewater effluent irrigation, and land-application of biosolids.
Many of these chemicals are known or suspected endocrine disruptors and cause adverse impacts to aquatic organisms at trace concentrations (μg - ng/L level). There are currently no surface or drinking water standards for these chemicals, and therefore the best way to reduce their presence in the environment is to reduce their use. The goal of this research project was to develop a calculator that the general public can use to estimate their footprint of endocrine-disrupting compounds. This calculator is similar to existing water and carbon footprint calculators. Users answer questions about the household products they use in three categories: health and beauty, laundry, and cleaning, and the calculator outputs an estimate of the user's endocrine-disrupting compounds footprint
The calculator was developed entirely by undergraduate students as part of Summer Undergraduate Research programs at Penn State.
Frequently Asked Questions
Richard Stehouwer, Ph.D.