September 9, 2011--Impasse persists on drugs in drinking water (New York Times)

Five years after the federal government convened a task force to study the risks posed by pharmaceuticals in the environment, it is no closer to understanding the problem or whether these contaminants should be regulated under the Clean Water Act. That’s the finding of a new report from the Government Accountability Office.Many studies have found traces of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, hormones, and antidepressants, in municipal water supplies over the past few years. Some cities have instituted take-back programs enabling residents to drop off unused medications. Still, the extent of the contamination and whether it poses a risk to human health remains unclear. A government work group called Pharmaceuticals in the Environment was convened in 2006 and included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates drinking water; the Food and Drug Administration; and six other federal agencies. According to the G.A.O., the group generated a draft report that was never released because of internal squabbling. 

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