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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigating local preparedness for managing endocrine disruptors Della Savia, Brianne


Innovations in the biochemical industry have outpaced regulatory risk management controls, exposing human and environmental populations to the risks and uncertainties posed by endocrine disruptors (ED). ED exposure originates from everyday products such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products designed for attending to medical conditions and aesthetic qualities of life; however, exposure can bind, block, or mimic hormone receptors threatening irregular cognitive development and reproductive growth. Globally, governments are revising policies and negotiating alternative risk management approaches to reduce adverse impacts of environmental exposure. In light of growing international regulatory interests and the Government of Canada’s intention to update the Chemicals Management Plan, future regulations governing EDs are expected, and local governments will be required to respond. A major source of ED contamination is municipal sewage and wastewater systems as EDs are discharged from a range of sources: industrial discharge, agricultural run-off, disposal of pharmaceuticals, and domestic sewage. Local governments are positioned at the intersection of these uses and are responsible for wastewater management. Source control policy and end-of-pipe wastewater treatment are common management strategies implemented by local governments to manage contaminants; however, knowledge gaps and uncertainties posed by EDs and available wastewater treatment plant technologies present additional challenges. This research is designed to understand local government perceptions on future challenges, preferred management strategies, and required resources to manage EDs. This work was completed through a case study using a Canadian local government as the case. Initial desktop research of chemicals management in Canada established Canada’s regulatory context and distinguished the jurisdictional responsibilities of local, Provincial, and Federal Governments. The case study was described through document analysis of local government management plans and policies to understand the governance structure and existing management strategies. Empirical material was collected through semi-structured interviews with local government staff and decision-makers knowledgeable and involved in the community’s source control program and wastewater treatment processes. The aim of this work is to build an understanding of the preparedness of local Canadian governments by investigating the local response to future regulation, identify expected challenges and outline the resources to help local governments meet future demands.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International