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A recent investigation by the Associated Press found trace amounts of various pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, painkillers and hormones, in drinking water supplied to a number of American cities. The quantities of drugs were so miniscule, they passed through water treatment facilities. Once bacteria develop resistance to a particular drug, they pass on the resistance to their siblings, offspring and other bacteria.
Environment Canada, a team of graduate and undergraduate students, as well as public health officers in Hamilton and Toronto to develop an early warning system that would identify when environmental conditions are ripe for developing drug-resistant bacteria that could pose a threat to human health.