The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) Program will hold a public advisory forum Feb. 13, 1-4 p.m. at MDH's Snelling Office Park location (1645 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul, MN 55108).
(Click on audio mp3 above to hear an interview with MDH Environmental Review and Program Coordinator Michele Ross, recorded live on WTIP's A.M. Community Calendar program, Tuesday, February 12, 2013.)
The Forum is open to anyone concerned about protecting the state's water resources from contaminants. It is an opportunity to share information related to contaminants of emerging concern and to learn more about CEC program activities.
This is the third forum since the program began; the first two were held in January of 2011 and February of 2012. Invited guests included representatives from local, state, and federal government agencies, academic programs, nonprofit groups, industry groups and drinking water and wastewater professional organizations, as well as the general public.
Agenda items for this meeting include:
Brief program overview.
Presentation from the United States Geological Survey on emerging concerns of naturally occurring toxins.
Presentation on the drinking water criterion and occurrence of microcystin.
Presentation from Minnesota Public Health Laboratory on expanding capacity and developing new analytical methods.
Open microphone: Updates from agencies, organizations on emerging contaminant activities, nominations of contaminants, etc.
If you would like to attend or to inquire about participation via the Web, contact Michele Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the Advisory Forum can be found at www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/risk/guidance/dwec/advisory.html.
Contaminants of Emerging Concern
Protecting Minnesota’s Water Resources
What is the CEC Program?
Through this program, MDH is investigating and communicating the health and exposure potential of contaminants of emerging concern in drinking water. The program supports the Clean Water Fund mission to protect drinking water sources and the MDH mission to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans.
What are contaminants of emerging concern?
A contaminant is generally a substance that is in a place where it doesn’t belong. Contaminants of emerging concern are substances that have been released to, found in, or have the potential to enter Minnesota waters (groundwater or surface water) and: do not have Minnesota human health-based guidance (how much of a substance is safe to drink);pose a real or perceived health threat; or have new or changing health or exposure information. They can include pharmaceuticals, pesticides, industrial effluents, personal care products that are washed down drains and processed by municipal wastewater treatment plants, and others.
Why are we studying contaminants of emerging concern?
New contaminants are being found in Minnesota waters. This is due, in part, because:
there are better methods for finding substances at lower levels; additional substances are being looked for; new substances are being used; and old substances are being used in new ways. The work of this program helps MDH understand the potential health effects of these contaminants.
How is this different from other MDH health-based guidance programs?
MDH currently develops human health-based guidance for contaminants that have already been found in groundwater in Minnesota. Under the CEC program, MDH takes a proactive approach to the protection of drinking water by considering contaminants that: have been found in groundwater, surface water, or soil; or have not been found (or looked for) in Minnesota at all.
Additionally, this program provides information on how people are exposed to these contaminants. These differences separate the work of this program from MDH’s other guidance work and supplements existing work.
More background on the Contaminants of Emerging Concern program, which is funded by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, can be found on the MDH website at www.health.state.mn.us/cec.