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Monday, March 10, 2008

Pharmaceuticals In Washington, DC Drinking Water

Last week it was reported that elevated lead levels had been found again in the drinking water in Washington, DC. Now this week traces of medicines have been found in small concentrations in the drinking water in our nation's capital. The Washington Aqueduct Dalecarlia water treatment facility is an arm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and it provides the drinking water for the District of Columbia. Medicines were found in the drinking water supplies of two dozen other cities. The results come from an investigative report by the Associated Press.

The pharmaceuticals found include anti-seizure medication, two anti-inflammatory drugs, two kinds of antibiotics and disinfectant. Pharmaceuticals were found in the drinking water supplies of 24 of 28 U.S. metropolitan areas tested. The drugs were found in water treated by the Washington Aqueduct and include the pain medications ibuprofen and naproxen, commonly found in Aleve, carbamazepine, an anti-convulsive to reduce epileptic seizures and a mood stabilizer for treating bipolar disorders; sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic that can be used for humans and animals in treating urinary tract and other infections; and monensin, an antibiotic typically given to cattle, and traces of triclocarban, a disinfectant used in antibacterial soaps. The amounts are extreme small, in parts per trillion, but they represent an emerging contaminant trend. The drinking water treatment facility uses chlorine as a disinfectant, which cannot neutralize pharmaceuticals. (The Washington Post)

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