March 10, 2008
(AP) An Associated Press investigation has found a vast array of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans in 24 major metropolitan areas.
They include antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones, as well as over-the-counter pain medicines.
Traces of antidepressants and pain relievers like ibuprofen were found in water in Virginia Beach. Water in Fairfax had traces of multiple antibiotics.
The concentrations are far below the levels of a medical dose, but some scientists are worried about the long-term consequences to human health.
Researchers don't yet understand the exact risks from decades of exposure to combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals. But recent studies have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.
Utilities insist their water is safe.