Do pharmaceuticals in the water matter?
March 10, 2008

Among the many things we measure in our drinking water, pharmaceuticals are rarely high on the list. But a news story by the Associated Press has raised some alarm about the safety of the nation's drinking water, particularly because most of our wastewater treatment systems do little or nothing to remove pharmaceutical chemicals from the water before returning it to rivers and streams -- where, of course, it is widely used as a drinking water supply. Overall, America has an exceptionally safe water supply. But over the coming decades, we will have to spend huge sums of money replacing and updating our water infrastructure, and we may find with additional research that we need to spend more on removing some of the chemicals that some of us need to survive from the water that all of us will have to drink.

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last revised March 2008