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Your neighborhood pharmacy -- now just a faucet away?

Friday, March 14, 2008

drinking_water.jpgGood news! Thanks to the crack investigative team at the Associated Press, Americans who commonly use prescriptions for such things as mood swings, cholesterol, infections, asthma, epilepsy, or just those general pesky pains many of us have from a life spent abusing our bodies may never need to wait in line at the pharmacy again. Traces of medications used to treat those and other medical conditions were found at low levels in the drinking water supplies of at least 40 million Americans. Who knows what other, more popular pharmaceuticals reside at low levels in our drinking water? I wonder if I should go ahead and cancel that prescription of Cialis I called into the pharmacy (for a friend, I swear). My friend may just get the required dose to do the trick by tossing back a few more glasses of H20.*

But, before anyone out there gets too excited that a little extra “help” may be as close as the kitchen sink, don’t reach for the glass just yet. Some feel the mere fact these pharmaceuticals are in much of the nation’s drinking water should be cause for concern, and a reason to ask some tough questions of officials over at the EPA. A Senate subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) is scheduled to hold hearings very soon to find out how this could happen, what if any health risks continued exposure to traces of these medications could have on our most vulnerable populations (children and pregnant women) and, oh yeah -- why did it take a small group of over-worked and under-paid journalists at the AP to inform millions of Americans that their drinking water is laced with various pharmaceuticals? Isn't that the job of the federal agency with thousands of employees and billions of dollars in taxpayer funds?

*We're kidding, obviously.

[Photo by Meredith Farmer.]