Water samples taken from three upstate watersheds by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) revealed 14 different drugs, and unspecified types personal care products in New York City’s drinking water.
The water samples were extracted between March and December of last year and analyzed for 72 compounds, including antibiotics and prescription drugs. DEP officials deny any risk, but Dr. Olga Naidenko, a scientist with a Washington, D.C. watchdog organization told CBS News “we cannot be assured that the final mix is safe.”
CBS news claims the study follows one done in 2009 that also detected pharmaceuticals and personal care products, including penicillin and the insect repellent DEET, in the city’s drinking water.
In 2008, Fox News reported that during a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered drugs were detected in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.
AP claimed researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, but recent studies unnoticed by the general public have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.
Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:
-Officials in Philadelphia said testing there 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.
-Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.
-Researchers at the U.S. 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.
-Three medications, including an antibiotic, were found in drinking water supplied to Tucson, Ariz.
New York City officials deny any risks and CBS News makes a point to claim human health risks from trace pharmaceuticals are unclear, but absent objective scientific analysis, these “NO RISK” claims have no foundation.
The federal government does not regulate levels of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, and pollutants that do fall under the GOVT’s radar are often ignored.
Two years ago, The New York Times claimed chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces violated water pollution laws more than half a million times in a five year period; violations ranged from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.
The vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment, the Times reported, and state officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, while the EPA has often declined to intervene.
The Times obtained hundreds of thousands of water pollution records through Freedom of Information Act requests to every state and the E.P.A., and compiled a national database of water pollution violations that is more comprehensive than those maintained by states or the E.P.A.