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Medical News & Perspectives
May 7, 2008

Traces of Drugs Found in Drinking Water

JAMA. 2008;299(17):2011-2013. doi:10.1001/jama.299.17.2011

The US public may be consuming trace amounts of such pharmaceuticals as antibiotics, hormones, mood-altering drugs, and pain killers in each glass of water they drink, according to recent reports. Yet little is known about whether these chronic, low-level exposures pose health risks.

An investigative report published by the Associated Press (AP) in March, documenting tiny quantities of various pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan areas has drawn greater public attention to a problem scientists have been probing for several years. So far, researchers have documented ill effects in fish and other aquatic animals. But making an evidence-based determination whether such effects translate to humans will require further research, said George S. Corcoran, PhD, president of the Society of Toxicology.