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Testing prompted by an Associated Press story that revealed trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies has shown that more Americans are affected by the problem than previously thought - at least 46 million. ...
The drug residues detected in water supplies are generally flushed into sewers and waterways through human excretion. Many of the pharmaceuticals are known to slip through sewage and drinking water treatment plants.
While the comprehensive risks are still unclear, researchers are finding evidence that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species in the wild and impair the workings of human cells in the laboratory.
Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation's waterbodies. Further research suggests that certain drugs may cause ecological harm. The EPA is committed to investigating this topic and developing strategies to help protect the health of both the environment and the public. To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment.
PPCPs have probably been present in water and the environment for as long as humans have been using them. The drugs that we take are not entirely absorbed by our bodies, and are excreted and passed into wastewater and surface water. With advances in technology that improved the ability to detect and quantify these chemicals, we can now begin to identify what effects, if any, these chemicals have on human and environmental health.