Drugs Found In Drinking Water Of 24 Cities; Louisville Included

LOUISVILLE, KY -- At least one pharmaceutical was detected in tests of treated drinking water supplies for 24 major metropolitan areas, according to an Associated Press survey of 62 major water providers and data obtained from independent researchers.

Only 28 tested drinking water. Three of those said results were negative; Dallas says tests were conducted but results are not yet available. Thirty-four locations said no testing was conducted.

Test protocols varied widely. Some researchers looked only for one pharmaceutical or two; others looked for many.

Some water systems said tests had been negative, but the AP found independent research showing otherwise. Both prescription and non prescription drugs were detected.

Because coffee and tobacco are so widely used, researchers say their byproducts are good indicators of the presence of pharmaceuticals. Thus, they routinely test for, and often find, both caffeine and nicotine's metabolite cotinine more frequently than other drugs.

Here's the list of metropolitan areas, with the number of pharmaceuticals detected and some examples of specific drugs that were found, or where tests were negative, not conducted or awaiting results:

Albuquerque, N.M.: tests negative
Arlington, Texas: 1 (unspecified pharmaceutical)
Atlanta: 3 (acetaminophen, caffeine and cotinine)
Austin, Texas: tests negative
Baltimore: no testing
Birmingham, Ala.: no testing
Boston: no testing
Charlotte, N.C.: no testing
Chicago: no testing
Cincinnati: 1 (caffeine)
Cleveland: no testing
Colorado Springs, Colo.: no testing
Columbus, Ohio: 5 (azithromycin, roxithromycin, tylosin,
virginiamycin and caffeine)
Concord, Calif.: 2 (meprobamate and sulfamethoxazole)
Dallas: results pending
Denver: (unspecified antibiotics)
Detroit: (unspecified drugs)
El Paso, Texas: no testing
Fairfax, Va.: no testing
Fort Worth, Texas: no testing
Fresno, Calif.: no testing
Honolulu: no testing
Houston: no testing
Indianapolis: 1 (caffeine)
Jacksonville, Fla.: no testing
Kansas City, Mo.: no testing
Las Vegas: 3 (carbamazepine, meprobamate and phenytoin)
Long Beach, Calif.: 2 (meprobamate and phenytoin)
Los Angeles: 2 (meprobamate and phenytoin)
Louisville, Ky.: 3 (caffeine, carbamazepine and phenytoin)
Memphis, Tenn.: no testing
Mesa, Ariz.: no testing
Miami: no testing
Milwaukee: 1 (cotinine)
Minneapolis: 1 (caffeine)
Nashville, Tenn.: no testing
New Orleans: 3 (clofibric acid, estrone and naproxen)
New York City: no testing
Northern New Jersey: 7 (caffeine, carbamazepine, codeine,
cotinine, dehydronifedipine, diphenhydramine and sulfathiazole)
Oakland, Calif.: no testing
Oklahoma City: no testing
Omaha, Neb.: no testing
Orlando, Fla.: no testing
Philadelphia: 56 (including amoxicillin, azithromycin,
carbamazepine, diclofenac, prednisone and tetracycline)
Phoenix: no testing
Portland, Ore.: 4 (acetaminophen, caffeine, ibuprofen and
sulfamethoxazole)
Prince George's and Montgomery counties, Md.: no testing
Riverside County, Calif.: 2 (meprobamate and phenytoin)
Sacramento, Calif.: no testing
San Antonio: no testing
San Diego: 3 (ibuprofen, meprobamate and phenytoin)
San Francisco: 1 (estradiol)
San Jose, Calif.: no testing
Santa Clara, Calif.: no testing
Seattle: no testing
Southern California: 2 (meprobamate and phenytoin)
Suffolk County, N.Y.: no testing
Tucson, Ariz.: 3 (carbamazepine, dehydronifedipine and
sulfamethoxazole)
Tulsa, Okla.: no testing
Virginia Beach, Va.: tests negative
Washington, D.C.: 6 (carbamazepine, caffeine, ibuprofen,
monensin, naproxen and sulfamethoxazole)
Wichita, Kan.: no testing.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-09-08 1319EDT


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jen Location: Washington, DC on Apr 3, 2008 at 03:32 AM
    I'd like to see a study on hormone levels in the water due to contraceptive pills. This can affect both sex drive and neurological disorders like depression.
  • by Cindy Location: Somerset on Mar 14, 2008 at 12:43 AM
    That is so gross. I didnt realize that our drinking water was cleaned sewage. The scarey thing is that some cities are trying to do away with bottled water, so the only choice for drinking water would be sewage. No thanks.
  • by Bill on Mar 12, 2008 at 05:04 AM
    Whos idea was it to recycle sewage into drinking water.Whats in your bath room bowl today is in your water next week.
  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Mar 12, 2008 at 04:33 AM
    How can drugs get in water? Every time you flush and old prescription, every time you throw away the old,expired medications in the river, etc., etc....If you want the water company to test for every drug known to man, get out your checkbooks...somebody has to pay for it, and it sure isn't going to be the water company our our government...
  • by Anonymous on Mar 11, 2008 at 08:07 PM
    i guess we got a poor filter system for or waters.. i guess we all r high on drugs and dont even no it..hmmm thought i felt funny for some reason..guess the water is got me high..
  • by Get r done on Mar 11, 2008 at 05:46 PM
    Thase gonna fire me at work cause I tested positive for Oxy Contin. I told em it was in my drinkin water and this here story was out and they said ok- GET R DONE
  • by Katie Location: Scottsburg,In on Mar 11, 2008 at 07:56 AM
    I love 30 north of Louisville, and have family in Louisville. I found this story to be disturbing. Even small amounts of tainted water could be fatal t oany newborn child or ill patients at the surrounding hospital in and around Louiville. So sad to hear this is happening.
  • by Joey Location: Lex on Mar 11, 2008 at 05:42 AM
    It seems pr thompson Location: corbin ky has been drinking way too much of this water. They used this forum to comment on the CATS versus what the topic is about...LOL!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 10, 2008 at 07:15 PM
    we getting on drugs and didnt even know it..how can drugs get in water??
  • by J Location: KY on Mar 10, 2008 at 06:46 PM
    OMG!! we have to watch what we eat, what toys we buy for our children, now we have to worry about our drinking water...what's next?
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