Much ground has been gained in efforts to reduce Great Lakes pollution from industrial, municipal and agricultural sources. The term “chemicals of emerging concern” has come to characterize the increasing awareness of the presence in the environment of many chemicals used by society, and the risk that these chemicals may pose to humans and ecosystems. These include newly formulated chemicals and extremely tiny materials used in cosmetics, paints, electronics and other products, as well as chemicals used every day by households, farms, businesses or industry, such as fragrances, disinfectants, pharmaceuticals and pesticides. In the United States and Canada very few of these compounds have regulations governing their release into the environment and discharges from wastewater treatment plants are a significant source of contaminants to surface waters in the Great Lakes basin.
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