Sunday, March 9, 2008

Traces of Drugs Found in Nation's Water Supply

A wide array of pharmaceuticals, including mood stabilizers, sex hormones and antibiotics, were found in the water supply for 41 million Americans, according to the Associated Press.

While utility companies insist their water is safe, the amount of drugs found in the system is alarming. Scientists are concerned that there could be a long-term consequence to the country's overall health.

Water companies do not regularly discuss their results of pharmaceutical screenings of the water supply. Additionally, the drugs are believed to have reached the water supply by people taking pills and then using the bathroom. While their bodies absorb much of the medication, some of it reaches the water supply. While the water is treated upon reaching the sewers, many of the treatment processes are not competent to stop the flow of drugs within the system.

While the effects of the drugs have not shown themselves on the general population, there is some alarm of the effect that the presence these drugs are having on wildlife.

"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.

The investigation by the Associated Press found that there were 56 drugs or byproducts in treated drinking water. They found sex hormones in the San Fransisco water supply.

Currently, the federal government does not require testing for drugs in water.