23 September 2008

Drugs in Water Update

I blogged in March and April about drugs in the water supply. In an update to those stories, the Associated Press reports that the tap water of at least 46 million (not 41 million) Americans are contaminated with some variety of drugs.*

The trouble with the 46 million number is that it is the result of cities that have tested for drugs in their water supply. Many (including NYC) have not tested for drugs. Even worse, tests do not look for every sort of drug -- just the ones that are regulated and/or detectable at low cost.

Note that bottled water will not "solve" these problems: Many brands come from municipal supplies, while others ("spring water") come from untested and unregulated supplies that may not be "spring fresh".

Bottom Line: We can't fix problems with water quality until we know the quality of water we are dealing with. Put the pressure on.

hattip to AD

* Although drugs can be measured, that doesn't mean that they are at harmful levels, but try explaining that to the mother of a newborn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the challenges that makes this problem worse is we don't have a system to safely dispose of prescription medications. A rural county in northern WI recently collected old prescriptions to get them out of potential circulation. To safely dispose of those drugs, they had to (a) find a medical incinerator, (b) find a trucker who could legally take them, and (c) find a sheriff's deputy to ride along since the prescriptions included narcotics. The nearest medical incinerator was in Missouri.