Pharmaceuticals In Our Waters:
A Public Health Perspective




Over the last decade, contamination of water resources by pharmaceuticals and other chemicals has emerged as a major public health concern. The issue is complex because of the nature of both the resource and the chemicals involved. This case study follows the background, assessment and management of a fictional site in the continental United States. Topics introduced involve the basic concepts in risk assessment and management.

Target Audience

Public health professionals in the public health field, specifically those involved directly in environmental health and those who wish to get an overview of the topic.


After completing the course, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify sources and migration paths of common contaminants in water resources.
  • Examine human health and ecological impacts from trace exposures.
  • Develop a plan to assess exposure and risk.
  • Demonstrate basic concepts in problem management.
  • Identify available sources of information .


Originally launched August 2005.

Estimated Time to Complete

A complete interactive session involving independent readings and exercises will require about three hours. A shorter refresher session involving direct presentation of the material can be completed in an hour.

Technical Requirements

The course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.

The planners and course authors have no financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity. No commercial support has been accepted for this activity.

Employed by or in New York State?

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you enroll for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).