City Lawmakers Find 'Alarming' Report of Drugs in Water

CHRISTOPHER FAHERTY
NY Sun
Monday, March 10, 2008

Elected officials and environmental advocates are poised to ask the city tough questions in the wake of a news report asserting that New Yorkers are likely consuming trace amounts of pharmaceuticals when they drink from the local water supply.

The report contends that traces of at least 15 pharmaceuticals or their byproducts — including hormones and mood stabilizers — have been discovered in the upstate watersheds that provide drinking water to the city, and that New York's drinking water has never been tested for pharmaceuticals.

"This is very alarming," a member of the City Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, Peter Vallone of Queens, said. "Rather than sit back and be informed about this, New York City should have been proactive. I would hope we institute some sort of testing as soon as possible."

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Following requests for comment regarding the report by the Associated Press, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection released a statement yesterday afternoon acknowledging concerns about the issue: "Though nothing in the information we've seen presents a risk to this water supply, we understand and take very seriously public concerns about pharmaceuticals in drinking water and continue to closely monitor this emerging national issue, in cooperation with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. DEP and DOHMH are working together to develop an education program about the best disposal methods for medications, targeting both watershed communities and city residents, and to consider appropriate next steps."

Full article here.

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