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The Washington Post reports that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) plan to hold hearings into a new study saying that a “vast array” of pharmaceuticals have been found in the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans in 24 different metropolitan areas – trace amounts to be sure, but enough so that some scientists are concerned about the long-term impact on human health.

Boxer heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, while Lautenberg chairs the Transportation, Safety, Infrastructure Security and Water Quality Subcommittee.

At the same time, according to the Post, US Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pennsylvania) has asked the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to investigate the study’s findings.

The study in question took five months to complete and was commissioned by the Associated Press.

According to the Time piece MNB quoted yesterday, the pharmaceuticals get into drinking water as follows:

“People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.”

KC's View:
Yeah, I’d say that a Senate probe is called for, and that the EPA ought to get on the stick and figure out if this can be prevented and what harm might have been caused to this point.

Don't want to be alarmist here, but this simply isn’t the kind of story that is going to reassure consumers about food safety in general.