Sunday, January 23, 2011
"In western Montana, the study found aquifers had been penetrated by waste water from a high school, and contained trace elements of acetaminophen, caffeine, codeine, antibiotics and warfarin, in addition to a mood-stabilizing drug for bipolar disorder and nicotine."
The Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D., noted Wednesday:
In a ... study by the United States Geological Survey that tested for 95 contaminants in water supplies nationwide, 80 percent of the samples from 139 streams in 30 states had at least one of the substances being tested for, with an average of seven contaminants in each sample. These findings included traces of anti-anxiety medications in the drinking water delivered to approximately 18.5 million Southern Californians. In western Montana, the study found aquifers had been penetrated by waste water from a high school, and contained trace elements of acetaminophen, caffeine, codeine, antibiotics and warfarin, in addition to a mood-stabilizing drug for bipolar disorder and nicotine.
Is Bottled Water the Solution?
Not necessarily. Tap water suppliers are required to perform regular water quality tests and publish the findings; makers of bottled water aren't. In fact, in a survey by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 38 contaminants were found in 10 big-selling brands.
The United States Geologic Survey reports:
In streams and rivers across the Nation, scientists are finding detectable concentrations of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater chemicals. For example, a recent study of the water-quality of streams in the Boulder Creek Watershed, Colorado, found a diverse set of pharmaceuticals and organic wastewater chemicals in water samples. In fact, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists found 12 of the 22 (55 percent) pharmaceuticals, and 32 of the 47 (77 percent) organic wastewater chemicals looked for in the watershed. Many of the water samples contained a complex mixture of pharmaceuticals, wastewater chemicals, pesticides, and trace metals .... The scientists found that:
* The concentration of many of these chemicals, such as sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections), triclosan (an antimicrobial agent commonly used in soaps), and caffeine, increased dramatically downstream from the first major wastewater treatment plant .... However, some organic wastewater indicators (such as triclosan) were also found in much lower concentrations in the relatively pristine upper part of the watershed, and scientists attributed their occurrence to home septic systems and other sources on the landscape.
* Few of the detected compounds exceeded water-quality standards; however, many do not have water-quality standards.... Native fish populations were found to exhibit endocrine disruption, including low male-to-female sex ratio and fish having both female and male reproductive organs (gonadal intersex).