Monday, March 10, 2008

Cotinine and Other Drugs Found in U.S. Drinking Water

AP probe shows drugs coming through drinking water

(via) Traveling throughout the US? Forget worrying about where you'll find hormone and antibiotic-free milk. You've got a bigger problem if you drink water. Antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, sex hormones - are now all available free in your drinking water. According to 5-month AP study, though the concentrations of these drugs seem to be miniscule, more than 41 million Americans are drinking questionable water.

The study uncovered pharmaceuticals in 24 major metropolitan areas from SoCal to Detroit, from New Jersey to Louisville. And the presence of so many prescription and over-the-counter medications have scientists wondering what the long term consequences to human health will be.

So, how is all this medication getting into the water supply?

You take a drug and it goes through your system like everything else you put in your mouth. Wastewater is treated before it's released into reservoirs and treated again at the drinking water treatment plants. Treatments may do a good job of cleaning the water, but they don't do so well at removing drug residue.

The AP national investigative team reviewed scientific reports, federal drinking water databases, visited study sites and treatment plants and interviewed officials, academics and scientists. Here are some areas where drugs were found in treated water:

Milwaukee, cotinine Philadelphia, 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts Southern California, anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety drugs in water that reaches 18.5 million people San Francisco, a sex hormone New Jersey, angina and mood-stabilizing drugs in the water supply of 850,000 people. Arizona, 3 medications (including an antibiotic)

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