Drug traces found in U.S. water supply
Very unnerving, particularly the fact that it's also in NYC"s drinking water.
Trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs are lurking in Louisville's drinking water, including one used to treat people with bipolar disorder and alcohol withdrawal, and another prescribed to combat seizures.
Swimming with them in the city's water supply is a favorite pick-me-up: caffeine.
The findings are part of a nationwide investigation into pharmaceutical drugs in drinking water conducted by The Associated Press.
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 serving at least 41 million people -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville.
The findings came as no surprise to Judy Petersen, executive director of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance, a group that lobbies for cleaner rivers and lakes.
"There is a drug cocktail, if you will, in our nation's waters," Petersen said, adding that there's little known about how those drugs might be affecting people or the environment. "We're kind of flying in the dark."
Louisville Water Co. officials acknowledged an increased concern of the potential health effects of trace amounts of drugs in drinking water, even as they noted there are no national standards for pharmaceutical chemicals in the water supply.
It's only been in recent years that technology has even allowed detection of the chemicals, said Barbara Crow, a water company spokeswoman.
But they and other companies say the amounts are so small that they don't pose a health risk. But others worry that the long-term effects of even those small amounts aren't certain.