Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Drugs in our Drinking Water

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the Associate Press announced that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky -- the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. (read story here)

What kind of drugs?
A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones...
Although the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, and in most instances fall far below the levels of a medical dose, there's still cause for alarm among scientists worried about the long-term consequences to human health.

The USA EPA has actually been aware of the problem for some time, both from the human prescription drugs leaching into water supplies as well as those drugs flowing into water resources as a result of algricultural practices.

They had this to say in the Fox news report on the subject:
"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Some think the EPA is only doling out lip service. In fact, the EPA's recent move to "water down" the effects of large factory farm manure spreading has recently earned them a black eye from certain watchdog groups. You can see the "request for public comment" on the issue here.

Think the water problems are just in the USA? Think again...
For example, in Canada, a study of 20 Ontario drinking water treatment plants by a national research institute found nine different drugs in water samples. Japanese health officials in December called for human health impact studies after detecting prescription drugs in drinking water at seven different sites.
You can read the full article here.