A vast array of drugs, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones, have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. Drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas.
The presence of so many prescription drugs, as well as over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, is causing worries among scientists about long-term consequences to human health.
Water providers rarely disclose this information; the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.
Although researchers do not yet understand the exact risks that arise from decades of exposure to random pharmaceuticals, recent studies have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.