An Associated Press investigation has found a vast array of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.
They include antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones, as well as over-the-counter pain medicines.
The concentrations are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion. That's 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.
In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Kentucky.
In Southern California water supplies, nine different drugs were
Utilities insist their water is safe.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)