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Capitol Health Call
October 12, 2011

Drugs in Drinking Water

JAMA. 2011;306(14):1535. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1441

Two Congressmen suggest the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dragging its heels on determining the risks to public health from pharmaceuticals in drinking water.

Rep Brad Miller (D, NC) and Rep Edward J. Markey (D, Mass) said that the EPA has not endorsed past recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to establish a process for obtaining data about the key health effects related to such contaminants in order to make informed decisions about regulating them. A GAO report released September 8 reported that a working group of federal scientists was created in 2006 to identify and prioritize research to better understand the risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment, and while the group produced a draft report in the spring of 2009, that document was never finalized or publicly released (http://tinyurl.com/3kc28xu). The GAO recommended that the administrator of the EPA establish a mechanism to coordinate research on pharmaceuticals and other contaminants in drinking water.

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