Pharmaceuticals Found in Public Water Supply

NEW YORK - An array of pharmaceuticals - including antibiotics, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones - have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation found.

'We recognize it is a growing concern, and we're taking it very seriously,' said Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the federal EPA.

'We recognize it is a growing concern, and we're taking it very seriously,' said Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the federal EPA.


The concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. And utilities insist that their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs - and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen - in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered 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.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the Associated Press found.

For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.

When people take pills, their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers, or lakes.

Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

While researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies, which have gone virtually unnoticed by the public, have found alarming effects on human cells and 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 US Environmental Protection Agency.

The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites, and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230 officials, academics, and scientists.

They also surveyed the nation's 50 largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller community water providers in all 50 states.

Here are some of the key test results:

Officials in Philadelphia said testing discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness, and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.

Antiepileptic and antianxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in southern California.

Researchers at the US Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.

A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco's drinking water.

The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water. Some providers screen only for one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the possibility that others are present.

Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for 28 was tested. Boston is among the 34 that haven't been tested, along with Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, and Phoenix.

The investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the Associated Press and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

Yet officials in six of those 28 metropolitan areas said they did not go on to test their drinking water: Fairfax, Va.; Montgomery County in Maryland; Omaha; Oklahoma City; Santa Clara, Calif.; and New York City.

Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking water supplies, only Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va., said tests were negative.

EPA Attempting to Lower Arsenic Levels in Drinking Water Information obtained from Citizens for Health.

The EPA is recommending the lowering of the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water be lowered from the current 50ppb down to only 5ppb, a 10-fold reduction. Arsenic poisoning has the ability to cause many forms of cancer and may have adverse effects on gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hormonal, pulmonary, hematological, neurological, immunological, and reproductive/developmental functions. The chemicals predominantly used to fluoridate municipal water supplies contain enough arsenic to push levels above the proposed reduced MCL, according to tests performed by the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSFI). These chemicals would have to be either be cleaned of their arsenic content before use or scrapped completely if the MCL is brought down to 5ppb. This reduction in contaminants is part of the "Safe Drinking Water Act", passed by Congress. An EPA representative formally protested to the senate panel that a recent military appropriations bill was passed, which contained a rider limiting the EPA's institution of the proposed MCLs for arsenic and also for radon. J. William Hirzy, Ph.D. testified in Congress last week as a representative of the union which represents most of the scientists and other professional employees at the EPA's headquarters. He spoke about many of the published scientific studies showing the dangers of fluoridation, including such serious problems as kidney damage and brain damage. A representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) testified at the same hearing that the current MCL for arsenic of 50ppb was established back in 1942 and that talk of lowering it has been going on since the 1970's. Opponents claim the 5ppb limit is too difficult (and costly) to comply with and are pushing for a higher limit of 20ppb The Telegraph
January 13, 2008
Cancer Drugs Found in Tap Water

Traces of cancer and psychiatric drugs were found in Britain’s tap water, according to a 100-page report commissioned by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). Despite extensive purification treatments used by water companies, traces of bleomycin, a cancer chemotherapy drug, and diazepam, a sedative, have been found in the drinking water. Though experts say the drug levels are too low to pose a direct health risk, concerns have been raised about exposing pregnant women to the drugs, which could harm an unborn child. A separate study by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire also revealed that chemotherapy drugs are being washed into Britain’s rivers. The report estimated that an adult who drinks more than three pints of water a day would receive doses of the drugs between 300 and 30,000 times lower than recommended safety levels each week. Still, some experts are worried. "There is not evidence to show that drinking water treatment removes all these drugs, so while we are not wanting to alarm people, it would be foolish to assume there is no risk,” said scientist Andrew Johnson, who led the Wallingford study.

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By Faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death: and was not found, because YAHUVEH had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased YAHUVEH. Hebrews 11:5

By Faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death: and was not found, because YAHUVEH had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased YAHUVEH. Hebrews 11:5