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AWWA Urges Science-Based Approach in Addressing Pharmaceutical Compounds in Water
Date:4/15/2008

Expert from Southern Nevada Water Authority testifies before Senate subcommittee

WASHINGTON, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To responsibly address the issue of pharmaceutical compounds in drinking water, scientists must know at what concentration these substances impact human health, not simply whether they can be detected, a leading expert today told a U.S. Senate subcommittee.

Testifying on behalf of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), Shane Snyder, Ph.D., research and development project manager for Southern Nevada Water Authority, stressed that advanced analytical methods allow scientists to detect substances that would have been impossible to find only a few years ago.

The hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation, Safety, Infrastructure Security, and Water Quality, was scheduled following recent media reports about trace levels of pharmaceutical compounds in drinking water. Snyder has served as principal investigator for many research projects related to the trace-level detection, removal, and toxicology of pharmaceuticals in water supplies.

"I can tell you with absolute certainty that, if we regulate contaminants based upon detection rather than health effects, we are embarking on a futile journey without end," Snyder said.

Pharmaceutical compounds should instead be considered within the framework of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Contaminant Candidate List process, Snyder said. That process identifies candidates for new drinking water standards through a science-driven process given the public confidence that the regulations they pay for are necessary, reasonable, and protect public health. Similarly, EPA's Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule provides a framework for decisions concerning testing and reporting to customers about contaminants that are not currently regulated.

Snyder referred to research he has conducted t
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SOURCE American Water Works Association
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