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Cotinine Among Drugs in Drinking Water in the US

AP probe shows drugs coming through drinking water

Traveling throughout the US? Forget worrying about where you'll find hormone and antibiotic-free milk. You've got a bigger problem if you drink water. Antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, sex hormones - are now all available free in your drinking water.

Refreshing Drink?Refreshing Drink?According to 5-month AP study, though the concentrations of these drugs seem to be miniscule, more than 41 million Americans are drinking questionable water.

The study uncovered pharmaceuticals in 24 major metropolitan areas from SoCal to Detroit, from New Jersey to Louisville. And the presence of so many prescription and over-the-counter medications have scientists wondering what the long term consequences to human health will be.

So, how is all this medication getting into the water supply?

You take a drug and it goes through your system like everything else you put in your mouth. Wastewater is treated before it's released into reservoirs and treated again at the drinking water treatment plants. Treatments may do a good job of cleaning the water, but they don't do so well at removing drug residue.

"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The AP national investigative team reviewed scientific reports, federal drinking water databases, visited study sites and treatment plants and interviewed officials, academics and scientists. Here are some areas where drugs were found in treated water:

Milwaukee, cotinine
Philadelphia, 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts
Southern California, anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety drugs in water that reaches 18.5 million people
San Francisco, a sex hormone
New Jersey, angina and mood-stabilizing drugs in the water supply of 850,000 people.
Arizona, 3 medications (including an antibiotic)

If you're curious whether your locality or a place you're planning to visit is affected, consult the study at the Associated Press.

Are you worried about your drinking water? Is switching to bottled water the answer?

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There are a few filters on the market that are certified for the removal of synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Most prescription and over the counter drugs fall under those categories. Check them out http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com I hope you find this information useful. Until there’s some standard set for the removal of prescription and OTC drugs I guess it’s up to us to do it on an individual basis.

Heres a site that has more information about how to actually remove the drugs from your water. http://www.aquasana.com/contamination_drugs.php

What about those of us that allergic to many medications?

I don't think this is a travel issue so much as it is a general health issue. I wonder if most countries have this problem and don't know it? I'm Canadian, and I'm certainly looking at my glass of water a little differently!

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