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Levels of Trace Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water Too Low to Impact Human Health According to Water Research Foundation Study
Date:3/4/2009

inished (treated) drinking water samples. Five prescription drug-related compounds were detected: atenolol, Dilantin, carbamazepine, gemfibrozil, and sulfamethoxazole. The scientists also found trace amounts of atrazine (a widely used herbicide), DEET (an active ingredient of insect repellants), metolachlor (a pesticide), and two flame retardants used in consumer products, Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TECP) and Tris (chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP).
  • The target compound detected at the highest concentration was atrazine. Atrazine was detected at levels as high as 870 parts per trillion or nanograms per liter (ng/l), less than a third of the federal regulatory limit of 3,000 parts per trillion or ng/l. The median level of atrazine detected in the study was 49 ng/l.
  • "Pharmaceuticals and EDCs can certainly be detected in water, and science will continue to establish lower and lower detection limits," said Snyder. "Based on the research done so far, they appear to occur at levels far below acceptable daily intake levels."

    "Concerns may be raised because detection of chemicals seems to be evidence enough of risk," Snyder added. "But in the world of toxicology, it's the dose, or amount of a substance, that can create a health risk. It's the concentration that matters."

    About the Water Research Foundation:
    Founded in 1966, the Water Research Foundation is an international, 501c(3) nonprofit organization that sponsors research to enable water utilities, public health agencies and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the public. With more than 950 subscriber members who provide water for 80 percent of the U.S. population, the Water Research Foundation has funded and managed more than 1,000 projects. For more information, go to www.WaterResearchFoundation.org<
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