AP Investigates Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water

The Associated Press made waves this weekend with the first article of a 3-part investigative series on pharmaceuticals and other personal care products (PPCPs) found in drinking water.

The article, which looks at the water supplies of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, smartly points out that this is not a new phenomenon and that, “to be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose.”

At these levels, a person would need to consume 300 million liters of water–the amount held in an Olympic-sized swimming pool–to achieve the therapeutic dose of 1,600 mg/day.

In addition to the fact that the water supplies Central Basin purchases from the Metropolitan Water District continue to meet and exceed all safe drinking water standards, here are some other things you should know:

  • The presence of PPCPs in source waters isn’t new. These chemicals have been present since their initial use by consumers and industry.
  • The development of more sensitive analytical techniques has only recently allowed the detection of these compounds at such low environmental levels.
  • Wastewater discharge and runoff from agricultural areas are considered significant factors associated with the presence of PPCPs in surface water.
  • The human health effects, if any, of drinking water with such extremely low trace levels of PPCPs are not known at this time.

If you have any additional questions, or would like more information on this emerging issue, please contact us.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 10th, 2008 at 10:19 am and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the Comments Feed.