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Autism Coach

pharmaceuticals contaminating water supply


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March 10, 2008.  

Associated Press investigative reporters (for once doing their job by accurately informing the public about something that's actually important) have found a vast array of pharmaceuticals in the country's drinking water, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, acetominophen, ibuprofen, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.  These concentrations are measured in parts per billion, but the their presence is worrying scientists about their long-term consequences.  

Drugs were discovered in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas from coast to coast..  Water from most treatment plants do not remove all drug residues.  Officials in Philadelphia said testing there revealed 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water.  Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were found in treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.  

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water.  Of the 62 major water treatment providers in the country, the drinking water for only 28 was tested.  Those cities that haven't even tested their water include:  Houston, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Phonix, Boston and New York. 

Pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting sentinel species at the foundation of the pyramid of life — such as earth worms in the wild and zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.  There is every reason to suspect that chronic exposure to low levels of drugs over a period of years effects people as well. 

"These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects," says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London, who has studied trace hormones, heart medicine and other drugs.

Even user's of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure.  Some bottlers of water simply repackage tap water and don't test for impurities.  The ONE technique that does remove ALL contaminants is reverse osmosis but is an expensive technology.  I would strongly urge all members of the autism community to make sure the water they drink is free of these contaminants.