Pharma’s Next Big Sleeper Issue: Drugs in the World’s Drinking Water

Nothing like getting a little dose of Prozac or Valium while brushing your teeth or administering it after preparing your infant's formula. It's not quite as far fetched as that sounds.  Research shows that pharmaceuticals, including antidepressants, antibiotics and synthethic hormones are become a growing presence in the world's municipal waterways. They've even been found in regional city tap water,  and their impact, over time, on people and wildlife at these low levels still remains unknown. An FDA program is focusing on this issue (for more, read this overview by GSK). But Sweden is paying a great deal of attention to this issue, as this overview (Theres Medicine in the Water) by Joel Kreisberg suggests, and assessing potential environmental impacts  is one of the nation's top EH&S priorities. This month brought numerous local news reports on this topic, from Michigan and Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., and India.  The AWWA Research Foundation recently published a position paper and overview of potential remediation techniques (Pharmaceuticals in the Water). Last year, an excellent review of this topic appeared in the journal of  Environmental Science and Technology.