This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

Medicines and personal care products to engage students' learning

Syed E. Hasan
Topic: Pollution control, waste management
Course Type:Intro/Upper level


Everyone uses shampoo, fragrance, insect repellents, sun screens, and medicines, but most are unaware of the adverse impact of these personal care products on the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The topic engages students from all disciplines and has been used as a class project.

Discussions include nature of the PPCPs (pharmaceuticals and personal care products), its environmental path and fate; and status of environmental laws at federal and state levels. Students may prepare persuasive letter to their area law makers explaining the issue and the need for legislation.


Awareness of an unknown waste issue; geologic processes controlling the fate and transport of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) into the environment; city wastewater treatment plant and how it does not trap PPCPs. A field trip to wastewater treatment plant would be very useful.


Written report, presentation, and tests.