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Drugs in the Water: EPA Takes Heat at Public Senate Hearing

Filed April 16th, 2008 amy

After the Associated Press publicized that were found in the much of the nation’s water supply, senators blasted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a public hearing yesterday because the agency does not require drug testing of water and resultant test result disclosure. “When a story like this breaks, why is it necessary for Senator (Frank) Lautenberg to call a hearing on this? Why aren’t you working on this night and day?” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, asked. “The Associated Press did your work and they’re telling us what’s in the water.”

After a five month inquiry, the Associated Press found that the nation’s water supply isn’t screened for drugs by all suppliers. But even the ones that do screen for drugs don’t disclose to consumers that they’ve found pharmaceuticals in the water. Medications that come up include antibiotics, mood stabilizers, sex hormones and anti-convulsants. The story reports that scientists are concerned about what the threat with be to human health, because the pollution is already having a detrimental affect on wildlife.

AP tests showed that drugs were found in at least 41 million Americans’ drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas. Another disturbing fact revealed: water providers are not required to test for pharmaceuticals.

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