Examining Water Supplies in Search of Pharmaceutical Drugs

March 2009
Nieman Reports;Spring2009, Vol. 63 Issue 1, p46
The article examines the investigative reporting done by the news service Associated Press (AP) in 2008 on the presence of pharmaceutical drugs in water supplies of major cities in the U.S. and foreign countries. The creation and management of a team of reporters to investigate this issue is described, as are some of the means used to collect and analyze the relevant data. The extreme reluctance of public officers involved with water safety to reveal information is discussed, as is the fact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not maintain centralized statistics on drugs found in water supplies. The effects of the AP's reporting included several hearings on the issue in the Congress, and calls for legislation for monitoring and preventing the release of drugs into water supplies. INSET: A Water Trail of Antibiotics in India.


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