If you weren’t one of the 41 million Americans drinking water contaminated with sex hormones and pharmaceutical waste, welcome to the club! Testing prompted by the AP’s damning investigation has revealed that another five million people, including residents of Reno, Colorado Springs, and Chicago, now sip the potentially dangerous pharmaceutical soup.
The substances detected in the latest tests mirrored those cited in the earlier AP report.
Chicago, for example, found a cholesterol medication and a nicotine derivative. Many cities found the anti-convulsant carbamazepine. Officials in one of those communities, Colorado Springs, say they detected five pharmaceuticals in all, including a tranquilizer and a hormone.
“This is obviously an emerging issue and after the AP stories came out we felt it was the responsible thing for us to do, as a utility, to find out where we stand. We believe that at these levels, based on current science, that the water is completely safe for our customers,” said Colorado Springs spokesman Steve Berry. “We don’t want to create unnecessary alarm, but at the same time we have a responsibility as a municipal utility to communicate with our customers and let them know.”
Of the twenty-seven municipalities to test their water supply, seventeen returned positive results. The water in Boston, Phoenix and Seattle all turned up crystal-clear.
What about the country’s largest water provider, New York City?
The City Council called for an urgent-sounding emergency meeting in April to order the Department of Environmental Protection to test the city’s water supply. In response, the D.E.P. declared: “the testing of finished tap water is not warranted at this time.”