This one's getting a lot of play: There are traceable levels of prescription drugs in many public water supplies.
The Times includes the AP story, which is both long and good. I bumped into it first on the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:
Health Blog : Big Pharma is in the Water Big Pharma is in the Water Posted by Sarah Rubenstein
It's not so expensive to get pharmaceuticals after all: Just drink water.
An investigation by the Associated Press found trace amounts of scads of drugs in drinking-water supplies around the country. For a list of what was found in the watersheds of 28 metro areas, click here. Among the water's offerings were antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones. There were traces of sedatives in water serving the city that never sleeps.
The drugs get in the water via our own waste.
Do these drugs have any effects? The drug content is pretty low, but as one scientist points out in the Times story, these drugs are meant to have effects at low doses. As the Times story notes in signing off:
''We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good,'' says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.